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Sunday, December 5, 2021

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Safety Harbor man charged with distributing Fentanyl, causing death to one individual and serious injury to another

United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the return of a superseding indictment charging 51 year-old David Burkes of Safety Harbor with conspiring to distribute a substance that contained a mixture of fentanyl, and acetyl fentanyl, causing the death of one individual, and the serious injury to another.

If convicted, Burkes faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 20 years, and up to life, in federal prison.

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According to court documents and information presented in court, beginning on August 12, 2019, Burkes distributed fentanyl and acetyl fentanyl, to two individuals. The two individuals snorted the substance.

A short time later, one of the individuals lost control of the vehicle the two were riding in, veered into a Walgreens parking lot, and overdosed. Medical personnel found the two individuals on the ground in the parking lot. They successfully revived one of the individuals, while the other died.

Between August 13, 2019, and August 15, 2019, after the fatal overdose, Burkes continued to distribute narcotics to undercover officers in Safety Harbor.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

This case is part of the Middle District of Florida’s anti-opioid strategy to combat opioid trafficking and abuse. This case was investigated by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration, with assistance from the Pinellas County Medical Examiner’s Office. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Diego F. Novaes and Kaitlin O’Donnell.


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