Man pleads guilty to drug charges after overdose death of his ni - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Man pleads guilty to drug charges after overdose death of his niece

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NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -

A New Haven man plead guilty for charges that he sold fentanyl-laced cocaine that lead to the death of his niece. 

Emeth Soloman, 43, plead guilty for one count of possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of, cocaine.   

The charges for Soloman come after 17 people in New Haven overdosed after consuming narcotics on June 23. Police said three of those 17 died of overdoses. 

Following the deaths, the city of New Haven declared a public health emergency

Following an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and New Haven Police Department, investigators determined that the victims had taken cocaine, which was "laced with fentanyl, a powerful opioid that can be at least 50 times more powerful than heroin," according to United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut.  

Authorities said Soloman "purchased a quantity of the fentanyl-laced cocaine from his supplier, Frank Pina," according to the U.S. Attorney for Connecticut. Soloman along with his niece eat some of the cocaine, however authorities said she overdosed and died. 

While questioning Soloman, he "intentionally provided false information concerning his knowledge of Pina’s drug trafficking activities and his involvement in his niece’s overdose death," according to United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut.  

Authorities said these false statements by Soloman "significantly impeded law enforcement’s investigation and efforts to ensure that the lethal cocaine/fentanyl mixture was removed from circulation on the streets of New Haven," according to United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut.   

Soloman is facing a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. His sentencing will be Jan. 16, 2017.

In 57-year-old Frank Pina and 48-year-old Steven Whaley pleaded guilty at U.S. District Court.

Pina and Whaley were charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of, controlled substances. 

During their investigation, Pina "supplied drugs both directly and through various middlemen to several of the individuals who overdosed on June 23" and Whaley "sometimes served as a middleman,” according to United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut.  

Pina and Whaley are expected to be sentenced on Oct. 31 and November 1, respectively. They both face a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.

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