Man Convicted of Providing Fentanyl Causing Death

1st of its kind conviction in WNY means life sentence for Wise

Tom Puckett
November 08, 2018 - 7:24 pm
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Buffalo, NY (WBEN) A Buffalo man now faces life in prison after being the first to be convicted in WNY of providing a deadly dose of fentanyl.

A federal jury returned the first ever verdict convicting a person of distributing fentanyl causing death, and that means 32 year old Dontrell Wise faces a mandatory life sentence, says US Attorney JP Kennedy. "The victim was discovered inside a premises in Cheektowaga, and credit the Cheektowaga Police for treating that overdose scene as a crime scene," says Kennedy. He says that allowed investigators to link the drug to Wise. Kennedy says evidence at trial established that Wise sold approximately 10 grams of a substance containing fentanyl which ultimately was injected by the woman, resulting in her overdose death.

Kennedy says putting the case together was not easy. "It's a groundbreaking case, and there's no playbook at this point, so these guys had to write the playbook as they went along," Kennedy. He says packaging found at the scene that can be traced back to Wise helped prosecutors establish Wise provided the woman with the drugs.

Two weeks earlier, on November 9, 2017, Wise was stopped by Buffalo Police officers in a rental vehicle with heavily tinted windows. Wise was found in possession of over $8,000 in cash, while a co-conspirator, Jerell Weathersby, had a quantity of butyryl fentanyl. The evidence further established that the defendant was a central member of a larger conspiracy crossing state lines, involving the distribution of narcotics in both Buffalo, NY, and Bradford, PA.             

Wise was arrested along with co-defendants Lemario Jones and Jerell Weathersby. Jones was convicted of distribution of a controlled substance and is awaiting sentencing. Weathersby was convicted of possession with attempt to distribute butyryl fentanyl and sentenced to 21 months in prison. 

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