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Drug Dealer Guilty of Manslaughter Gets Maximum Sentence

LA PLATA, MD—Tony Covington, State’s Attorney for Charles County announced that on Wednesday, May 17, 2017, Samantha Nicole Thomas, 34 of Waldorf, who sold the drugs to Christopher Wade that ultimately killed him, entered a guilty plea to Manslaughter. Charles County Circuit Court Judge Amy J. Bragunier accepted the guilty plea and then sentenced Thomas to the maximum penalty for manslaughter, 10 years in prison.

On October 31, 2015, officers responded to the 2700 block of Sprague Drive in Waldorf for the report of a subject not breathing. Upon arrival, officers found the victim Christopher Wade unresponsive and lying on the bathroom floor. After unsuccessful attempts by emergency services personnel to revive him, Mr. Wade was pronounced deceased. Near the victim’s body, Officers recovered paraphernalia consistent with heroin use.

An investigation revealed that approximately three hours before his death, Thomas sold the victim a quantity of what she said, and the victim believed, was heroin. The toxicology report from the victim’s autopsy, however, revealed that fentanyl –a narcotic much more powerful than heroin– was actually the narcotic that caused Wade’s death. During an interview with officers, Thomas admitted that she routinely went to Baltimore to purchase the narcotics that she resold and that she was aware the substances she sold may not have been heroin. Experts indicate that someone ingesting fentanyl that they believed was heroin would have a very high likelihood of overdosing because an amount of fentanyl is so much more powerful than the same amount of heroin.

In modern Charles County history, Thomas is the first narcotics dealer to be convicted of Manslaughter for providing drugs that led to an overdose fatality. During the proceeding, Assistant State’s Attorney John A. Stackhouse said, “This County, like the rest of the country, is in crisis regarding opioid abuse. There are overdoses every single day in Charles County. And with all those overdoses, unfortunately, more than a few are fatal. This plea and sentence hopefully sends the message to the community and makes a difference for at least one person.”

Covington commented, “I hope drug dealers – especially those pushing the unbelievably addictive and deadly opioids like Fentanyl and Heroin — understand that we are going to hold them accountable not only for dealing drugs but also for the deaths we can link to their dealing. Lives are being lost, families ruined because in part these dealers want to make an easy buck off someone else’s misery. That’s not right. So I am giving dealers fair warning. If we have the evidence, we are coming for them relentlessly and without mercy.”