An alleged drug-dealer is facing federal charges related to a heroin-user who overdosed in Buckhead last year and died the following day.
Donquell Weddington, 24, of Atlanta was recently indicted on charges of heroin and cocaine distribution, including “distributing heroin to an individual which resulted in serious injury and death,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Northern Georgia.
Prosecutors allege that on April 10, 2017, Weddington sold heroin to an unnamed person, who overdosed later that day in the lobby of a Buckhead office building. Paramedics transported the person to Piedmont Hospital, where the person was treated and released. That evening, the person went to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport for a flight to New York, but collapsed in a concourse. The person died the next morning from a heroin overdose, prosecutors say.
Weddington is also charged with making three other drug deals in unspecified areas last year.
“Weddington’s alleged heroin distribution led to a drug overdose, which resulted in a death in our community,” said Byung J. “BJay” Pak, the U.S. Attorney for North Georgia, in a press release.
Pak’s office says the case is part of the federal “Operation SCOPE,” which stands for “Strategically Combatting Opioids through Prosecution and Enforcement.” Opioids are a class of addictive, often easily lethal drugs that include opium and morphine as well as substances with similar effects, such as heroin and prescription painkilling pills.
“Operation SCOPE does not just apply to those who prescribe opioids,” Pak said in the press release. “It also targets drug traffickers who allegedly distribute heroin, [the synthetic opioid] fentanyl or opioids that cause death or serious injury to users. We have a zero tolerance for those who destroy lives through the distribution of drugs like heroin.”
“In this case, the death of a person addicted to heroin strikes at the core of this country’s opioid epidemic,” said Robert J. Murphy, the special agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Atlanta Field Division, in the press release. “Donquell Weddington allegedly provided the victim in this case with a deadly dose of heroin. The mission of [the] DEA is unwavering — we combat drug traffickers by investigating and prosecuting those who criminally distribute drugs, which ultimately cause immeasurable damage and even death to those in our communities.”
The press release included supporting statements about coordinated opioid trafficking policing from Georgia Bureau of Investigations Director Vernon Keenan and Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields.
The Reporter is publishing an exclusive four-part series called “Coping with a Crisis: Opioid Addiction in the Suburbs,” about the opioid epidemics’ local impacts. For the latest installment, about a suburban mother’s prosecution for dealing fentanyl, click here.