Armed Fentanyl Trafficker Sentenced To Life In Prison For Causing Fatal Overdose

Tampa, FL – U.S. District Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell has sentenced Justin Kelly (36, New Port Richey) to concurrent terms of life in prison for conspiracy to distribute 40 grams of fentanyl resulting in death and distribution of fentanyl resulting in death, and 15 years’ imprisonment for three counts of possession/distribution of fentanyl and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. A federal jury had found Kelly guilty on November 16, 2022.

According to evidence presented at trial, Kelly was a supplier of fentanyl in Pasco County. He used addicts to sell the drug for him and yielded profits of thousands of dollars per day. In the early hours of November 18, 2020, “E.L.” was found face down in his kitchen by his wife, while his stepchildren were asleep a few feet away. Detectives from the Pasco Sheriff’s Office learned that a dealer named Steven Kinney had supplied the fentanyl. Kinney identified Kelly as his supplier. Search warrants executed at Kelly’s motel room and a storage unit resulted in the seizures of additional fentanyl, cash, kilogram presses, digital scales, and an M&P 15 rifle. Cellphone records corroborated that Kelly was the supplier of the fentanyl that Kinney had distributed to “E.L.” before he died.

Kinney previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute fentanyl. He was sentenced on January 4, 2023, to four years and nine months in federal prison.

This operation is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Pasco Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Tarpon Springs Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Lauren Stoia and Dan Baeza. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at


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