Drug Dealer Sentenced to Six Years After Fentanyl Pills Caused the Death of an Arizona Teen

Michael Fox, 29, of Tucson, was sentenced last week by United States District Judge G. Murray Snow to 72 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release. Fox was indicted by a grand jury on September 28, 2021, and pleaded guilty to Distribution of Fentanyl on April 6, 2023.

On June 29, 2019, Fox sold three fentanyl pills to a 16-year-old female in Glendale. Within approximately one hour, the victim was found unconscious and not breathing. The victim was rushed to the hospital, but she never recovered and was pronounced dead on July 1, 2019. A Maricopa County Medical Examiner determined the cause of death was cardiac arrest related to a fentanyl drug overdose.

The United States Attorney’s Office sought a sentencing enhancement in the case to account for the death of the victim.  The District Court held a two-day evidentiary hearing on October 10, 2023, and November 14, 2023, to present testimony and argument on the enhancement. The Court took statements from the victim’s family, several supporters of Mr. Fox, and argument from the attorneys.  The District Court ruled for the United States finding that the fentanyl pills that Fox sold to the victim caused her death.

“This is not the first time we’ve held a fentanyl dealer responsible for a poisoning death under our federal sentencing laws and the federal sentencing guidelines,” said United States Attorney Gary Restaino. “But it’s the first time we’ve had a lengthy evidentiary hearing with scientific testimony on fentanyl as part of the sentencing. We appreciate our partnership with the DEA in helping provide a strong message of deterrence, and we particularly thank the victim’s family for their support of the prosecution and their patience waiting for its outcome.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the investigation in this case. Assistant United States Attorney Ryan McCarthy, District of Arizona, Phoenix, handled the prosecution.