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  3. Jury Convicts Florida Man for Fentanyl Related Charges, Causing a Near-Fatal Overdose

Jury Convicts Florida Man for Fentanyl Related Charges, Causing a Near-Fatal Overdose

Release Date: April 15, 2024

TAMPA, Fla. — A federal jury found a Florida man guilty of two counts of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine and crack cocaine; one count of distributing fentanyl; and one count of distributing a mixture of fentanyl and heroin that resulted in serious bodily injury following a joint agency investigation.

Joseph Marion, 41, of St. Petersburg, previously pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine and crack cocaine with the intent to distribute. Marion faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 20 years to life in federal prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 16.

According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, Marion was a second-tier supplier of fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine and crack cocaine. He imported fentanyl and fentanyl analogs from China through the U.S. mail, blended and packaged the controlled substances himself, and then sold the drugs from his home to street dealers who distributed them to users. During the trial, one of the street dealers testified that she bought 40 to 100 bags of fentanyl from Marion every day for several years. In November 2019, a woman who was with Marion in his apartment snorted Marion’s fentanyl, thinking it was heroin, and nearly died. Paramedics saved her, though she was hospitalized for days afterward.

In November 2019, agents executed a search warrant at Marion’s apartment and seized large quantities of fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine, crack cocaine and marijuana, as well as thousands of branded wrappers used to package fentanyl and heroin.

Marion was known by the nickname “Backpage Jay” because his other source of illicit income was advertising and “managing” prostitutes on the now-defunct website Backpage.com.

This case was investigated by HSI Tampa, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, the St. Petersburg Police Department and the Clearwater Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael M. Gordon.

Last Updated: 04/22/2024
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