Death by Fentanyl Overdose Leads to Indictment of Two Men on Federal Drug Charges
Penalty could include up to life in prison
SAVANNAH, GA - Two Bryan County men face up to life in prison after another man’s fatal fentanyl overdose.
Javarus McKinney, a/k/a “Jody,” 32, of Richmond Hill, Ga., is charged with Distribution of Fentanyl Resulting in Death, Possession with Intent to Distribute Fentanyl, and Possession with Intent to Distribute Fentanyl Near a School, said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. A co-defendant, Darien Cothern, 32, of Richmond Hill, also is charged with Distribution of Fentanyl Resulting in Death. The primary charge carries a possible statutory penalty of up to life in prison, and there is no parole in the federal system.
“The fatal fentanyl overdose death in this case strikes at the core of this country’s opioid epidemic,” said the Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Atlanta Field Division (AFD) Robert J. Murphy. “Drug dealers Javarus McKinney and Darien Cothern provided the victim in this case with a lethal dose of fentanyl. The citizens of Bryan County feel safer knowing these defendants have been removed from their community. This case is a perfect example of how DEA and its law enforcement partners confront, engage and eliminate drug traffickers who fuel the opioid crisis.”
“Since the start of the pandemic, overdoses and deaths have been rising throughout the country, with an alarming increase in fentanyl-related overdose deaths in the Southern District,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Estes. “Our office will continue its diligence in working with our law enforcement partners to find the source of illegal drugs implicated in fatalities.”
Richmond Hill Police officers initiated an investigation Aug. 12, 2020, after a male victim was found dead in a residential pool. An autopsy indicated the man died from a fatal dose of fentanyl, and the indictment charges McKinney and Cothern with providing the illegal drugs.
In addition to the criminal charges, McKinney also faces forfeiture of $12,970 seized during the investigation, along with a 2017 Chevrolet Impala.
Criminal indictments contain only charges; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case is being investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team, and the Richmond Hill Police Department, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frank M. Pennington and Noah J. Abrams.
The DEA encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.JustThinkTwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com, www.CampusDrugPrevention.gov, and www.dea.gov . Also follow DEA Atlanta via Twitter at @DEAATLANTADiv