ST. LOUIS – A local drug dealer was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in federal prison after a woman he sold fentanyl-laced heroin to overdosed and died.
The sentence was handed down after Jonathan Jamar Dickerson, of University City, pleaded guilty to distributing fentanyl to another person, resulting in a fatal overdose.
In January 2017, Maryland Heights police were called to a home after a 21-year-old woman, identified as “D.M.,” died from an overdose of heroin laced with fentanyl. During a search of the victim's room, police officers found evidence on the victim's cellphone linking her to Dickerson, also known as "Los."
"On the phone were text messages, it appeared to us, from the very first time she ever met or bought heroin from him up unto the day she took her fatal overdose," said Det. Sgt. Richard White, Maryland Heights Police Department.
The US Attorney's office said a text exchange occurred between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on January 27, 2017, the day before D.M. was found dead. In the text message, it appeared D.M. was arranging to purchase drugs from Dickerson.
White said during a search of an Overland apartment where Dickerson was living, police found heroin, fentanyl, and gelatin capsules that matched those also found in the victim's room. Investigators also found text messages of Dickerson advertising fentanyl to other potential buyers.
"We even had video of him selling heroin to other people," said White.
The US Attorney's office said there was video evidence that showed Dickerson and D.M. meeting in the parking lot on the afternoon D.M. purchased the fatal dose.
According to police, Dickerson was a mid-level dealer who traveled to multiple states selling drugs.
Dickerson was arrested on February 3, 2017. He admitted to selling the drug to the D.M.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Albus credits the Maryland Heights Police Department’s thorough investigation.
"They took the initiative and struck while the iron was hot," said Albus. "They developed this evidence and ultimately identified Mr. Dickerson. Otherwise, he would've gotten away with it."
Through White, the victim's family said they were satisfied with the sentence.
"If we could put him in jail, and if it sets an example for others, if it can save a life, then that's a win," said White.
Dickerson, 29, will be required to serve at least 85 percent of his 20-year sentence.