A Dumfries man was sentenced Monday to 30 years in prison following his conviction in September on charges related to the overdoses of six people at a Fairfax County party, including one who later died. All six took cocaine laced with fentanyl that police determined was supplied by him, according to a federal court news release.
After a September 2022 trial in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, a jury found Michael Vaughn, 28, of Dumfries, guilty of five counts of distribution of fentanyl resulting in serious bodily injury, one count of distribution of fentanyl resulting in death and serious bodily injury, and possession with the intent to distribute fentanyl, according to court records.
The police investigation revealed that all six victims attended a party at an apartment during which Vaughn supplied the drugs that caused the overdoses. All of the victims ingested the substance because they believed it was cocaine, the release said.
At trial, the evidence showed that Vaughn had intentionally added fentanyl to the cocaine before providing it to the victims, the release said.
Police executed a search warrant at Vaughn’s residence and discovered a plastic baggie containing more than 60 grams of fentanyl in his nightstand, court records said.
While executing the warrant, police also seized $10,330 in cash located at Vaughn’s residence, according to court records. Because he was convicted on all counts, Vaughn forfeited the money, court records said.
On Sept. 21, 2021, at approximately 3:03 a.m., the Fairfax County Department of Public Safety Communications received a call for help from a woman who reported that five people were unconscious and breathing abnormally in her apartment on Seminary Road in Falls Church.
When emergency responders arrived at 3:11 a.m., police immediately discovered the first victim, an unconscious woman lying on the ground outside of the high-rise apartment building. Vaughn was standing beside the woman and identified himself to police. Police suspected the woman overdosed and asked Vaughn if he knew what she had taken, and he said he did not, according to the court record.
Emergency personnel administered Narcan to the woman to reverse the effects of a suspected overdose, and she regained consciousness and was transported to Alexandria City Hospital, court papers said.
At the same time, additional emergency personnel entered the apartment and found five unconscious people in different stages of distress, the court record said.
After rescue personnel administered Narcan,a second victim regained consciousness and was transported to Fairfax Hospital, according to court papers.
After two doses of Narcan, emergency personnel were able to detect a pulse and respiratory activity in the third victim, a man, who was also found in the apartment. He was transported to Fairfax Hospital. Both cocaine and fentanyl were detected in his blood on the day of the overdose, court papers said.
The fourth victim, a woman, received six doses of Narcan. She regained consciousness as she was arriving at Fairfax Hospital where she was placed on a Narcan drip and admitted to the Intensive Care Unit, according to the court record.
The fifth victim, a man, responded to Narcan and regained consciousness before being transported to Virginia Hospital Center. He was placed on a Narcan drip and was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit, court papers said.
The sixth victim, Hamzah Mughal, was found unconscious. Mughal, whose name and address were not included in the court documents, was taken to Alexandria City Hospital but never regained consciousness despite a week in the intensive care unit. He was declared brain dead and died on Sept. 27, 2021, according to court papers.
It was determined that Mughal’s death was accidental and the cause of death was adverse effects of fentanyl, ethanol, and benzoylecgonine, according to the medical examiner’s report.
The Prince William County Police Department provided significant assistance in the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rachael C. Tucker and Michael P. Ben’Ary prosecuted the case against Vaughn, according to a press release.
Reach Cher Muzyk at firstname.lastname@example.org
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