A Chattanooga man has been sentenced to spend 23 years in prison for his role in a heroin distribution conspiracy resulting in the death of a Drug Court graduate in 2016.
Darius Blakemore, 29, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin resulting in death, distribution of heroin resulting in death, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession with intent to distribute crack and possession with intent to distribute heroin, according to a news release from the Department of Justice Eastern district of Tennessee.
Federal law provides enhanced penalties for drug dealers who distribute controlled substances that lead to overdose deaths, including a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence.
Once Blakemore's 23 years are up, he will serve three years supervised probation.
According to his plea agreement, Blakemore sold $200 worth of heroin to Jessica Rachels and had one of his runners, Joshua Corbett, deliver it to her in a McDonald's parking lot on Rossville Boulevard on Feb. 22, 2016.
Rachels then passed the heroin to her passenger, 24-year-old Logan Whiteaker, who had graduated that afternoon from Hamilton County Drug Court, an alternative sentencing program that gives addicts a chance to recover outside of jail.
A family member found Whiteaker dead the next morning on the bathroom floor of his Red Bank residence with a hypodermic needle clutched in his hand.
Rachels and Corbett were also charged with distribution of heroin resulting in death. They also pleaded guilty to distribution of heroin resulting in death and were each sentenced to serve 10 years in prison and three years supervised probation.