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Baltimore man sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison for selling fentanyl-like drug that killed Harford resident

A Baltimore man was sentenced to almost 14 years in federal prison for selling drugs, specifically heroin and a fentanyl analogue, that killed a person in Harford County in 2017.

Shannon Dorrell Marshall, 43, pleaded guilty in September to two counts of distribution of controlled substances. At sentencing Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander also ordered Marshall to serve 165 months and three years of supervised probation following his release.

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Fentanyl analogues are chemical compounds designed to have effects similar to fentanyl and can be just as deadly, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Baltimore, announcing the sentencing.

On May 11, 2017, detectives from the Harford County Sheriff’s Office were called to a home in Abingdon where a person was reported dead. An autopsy later determined the person died of 4-Fluoroisobutyryl fentanyl and carfentanil intoxication, according to the guilty plea.

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Detectives found messages on the victim’s phone arranging the purchase of drugs from an individual known as “Cake,” who they learned was Marshall. Further review of the phone showed the victim had been purchasing gel caps of heroin from “Cake” since October 2016, according to the plea.

In June 2017, detectives conducted surveillance of Marshall and saw him engage in a hand-to-hand drug transaction, according to the plea. Marshall fled when detectives exited their vehicles, but they were able to stop the person who had just purchased drugs — three gel caps of heroin and crack cocaine — from him.

Harford County Task Force detectives executed a search warrant at Marshall’s residence on June 21, 2017, and seized a bag containing 2.8 grams of cocaine. After his arrest, Marshall admitted to detectives that he sold the drugs to the overdose victim as well as the individual police had stopped in June, according to the plea.

In the news release, U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the DEA, the Harford County Sheriff’s Office and the other members of Harford County Narcotics Task Force for their work in the investigation.

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The task force is made up of members of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, Maryland State Police, Aberdeen Police Department, Bel Air Police Department, Havre de Grace Police Department and the Harford County State’s Attorney’s Office.

“Ending the opioid epidemic is a marathon, not a race. Investigations, like this one, take time,” Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler said in a statement provided by his office. “I am immensely proud of the work the Harford County Narcotics Task Force does to take dealers off our streets. Since I took office in 2014, one of my primary goals was to attack this epidemic head on, by targeting and arresting those who prey on members of our community. The sentencing of Shannon Marshall is an example of how hard work, diligent investigations and dedicated detectives are making a difference to hold dealers accountable and save lives.”

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