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North Carolina Man Who Sold Fentanyl-Tainted Crack Gets 16+ Years

A Beulaville, North Carolina, man who sold crack tainted with fentanyl was sentenced to over 16 years in prison for a deadly conspiracy and distribution of crack and fentanyl. Prosecutors say that Marshall Ray Scarborough caused four overdose deaths in a single day.

Four Deaths Involving Fentanyl

Court records revealed that in April 2021, deputies with the Duplin County Sheriff’s Office responded to three separate homes with reports of an unresponsive person inside. The same day, the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call that ended up being another overdose death. Not one of the persons who overdosed that day could be revived. It is suspected that none of them knew that the drugs they were taking also contained fentanyl, a death sentence for people who have never used opioids.

Three victims had autopsies showing the cause of death was listed as acute fentanyl and cocaine intoxication. They didn’t have an autopsy in the fourth death, but they did perform a blood test that found fentanyl, cocaine, and diazepam.

A thorough police investigation determined Scarborough had sold the drugs to each victim, causing their deaths. The 65-year-old drug dealer pled guilty to the charges to the charges on February 7, 2023.

“This is a great example of what happens when we work together, and I commend the men and women who worked relentlessly in conducting a thorough investigation,” Duplin County Sheriff Stratton Stokes said in a press release. “Today, Marshall Scarborough was sentenced to a lengthy prison sentence in federal court, which ensures that he will no longer spread poison in our community, or other communities.  I hope this brings some form of comfort and closure to the victims’ families. Let this be a notice to anyone actively dealing narcotics or planning to deal narcotics in Duplin County.  Our Office will continue to work diligently with our local, state, and federal allies to rid our communities of these issues.”

Scarborough was also ordered to pay the funeral expenses for the victims, but it is unclear if his money was seized during the course of the investigation.

Part of the Anti-Fentanyl Efforts

The sentences are part of a concerted effort by law enforcement to go after drug traffickers, especially the ones unleashing unexpected fentanyl on unsuspecting drug users. The opioid crisis is claiming more lives than ever, almost all of that due to fentanyl coming through our borders.

While law enforcement works to keep it out, schools and medical providers are working on teaching kids that “one pill can kill,” making them aware of the dangers of buying illicit drugs or pills.

While educational campaigns can help educate parents, more needs to be done in the school systems at at primary care offices. Many young people are naive about buying drugs and don't question the safety of drugs they've bought from strangers. One pill can truly be a death sentence; if you have young people in your family who may experiment with drugs, talk to them.

If you have a family member using drugs, talk to them about harm reduction and drug treatment. You could save a life. Naloxone can be kept on-hand to reverse an overdose. While other measures can help reduce the dangers of opioids, like clean needles.

Getting Help for Fentanyl and Other Opioid Abuse

If you or somebody you love is misusing fentanyl or any opioid, there’s good news! Medication-Assisted Treatment can help you begin the process of reclaiming your life. MAT is considered the “gold standard” of treatment by the FDA. Give us a call to learn more about how we can help you start the process of reclaiming your life.

If you are in need of help, please call us at: 910-295-7246 or message us.



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Addiction, pain, and mental health challenges interfere with the joys of living, but we can help. Dr. Corrigan, and the whole team at Solas Health, will help.

If you are in need of help, please call us at: 910-295-7246 or message us.

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