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Chattanooga Man Sentenced after Distribution of Fentanyl Analogue Resulting in Death

Jonathan Bash, 25, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was sentenced to 252 months’ imprisonment by the Honorable Curtis L. Collier, United States District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Chattanooga, after distributing para-fluorofentanyl, resulting in the overdose death of Charlotte Gallant.   Following his incarceration, he will be on supervised release for five years.

As part of the plea agreement filed with the court, Bash pled guilty to distributing para-fluorofentanyl, a fentanyl analogue, that resulted in the death of 19-year-old Charlotte Gallant, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(C).  According to the plea agreement, Bash sold a fentanyl analogue to a young man who shared it with his girlfriend, Ms. Gallant.  According to filed court documents, Bash misrepresented the drug as ketamine, a commonly abused “club drug” that is often used for its perceived anesthetic and hallucinogenic effects.  Both the young man to whom Bash sold the fentanyl analogue and Ms. Gallant overdosed.  The young man suffered serious bodily injuries but ultimately survived the overdose.  Paramedics were unable to revive Ms. Gallant, who died shortly after ingesting the drug.

“This is a tragic case. Using any kind of narcotic acquired on the streets or even from a friend, regardless of how the drug appears to be marketed, can unknowingly lead to the use of fentanyl, and the effects can be lethal,” said United States Attorney Francis M. Hamilton, III.  “Our office will continue to prosecute these cases to bring justice to the community and the families of the victims, including Ms. Gallant and her family.”

“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service values our law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Eastern District of Tennessee who brought justice to this investigation,” said Tommy D. Coke, Inspector in Charge of the Atlanta Division.  “This case sends a clear message that the U.S. Postal Inspection Service along with our law enforcement partners will work tirelessly to protect the communities we serve by combating the flow of deadly drugs like fentanyl and holding drug traffickers accountable.”

“A 21-year sentence highlights the serious risks fentanyl poses and serves as a testament to HSI’s collaborative efforts in combating drug trafficking,” said HSI Nashville Special Agent in Charge Rana Saoud. “Fentanyl has a devastating impact on our communities and HSI will continue to fight alongside our law enforcement partners to disrupt and dismantle illicit narcotics organizations.”

“The most impactful investigations occur through meaningful collaboration and coordination with our local, state, and federal partners.  The FBI is a proud federal partner of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Homeland Security Investigations, said Special Agent in Charge Joseph E. Carrico, of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

The criminal investigation was the result of an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service, Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Chattanooga Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys James Brooks and Frank Clark represented the United States.