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A Baltimore man linked to nine fatal drug overdoses pleaded guilty Wednesday to a heroin distribution conspiracy, according to federal officials.

Karon Elijah Peoples, 24, admitted to being involved with the distribution of between nine and 10 kilograms of heroin. He also admitted that nine fatal overdose victims and 18 overdose survivors had contacted his phone to buy drugs before they overdosed.

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But Peoples’s lawyer, Russell A. Neverdon, said the plea doesn’t mean that the drugs Peoples’ distributed were responsible for the overdoses.

According the plea agreement, police began to investigate Peoples in fall 2017 after learning that he was selling drugs to users throughout Maryland, who came to the city to buy heroin from him. Undercover officers bought drugs from Peoples as part of the investigation.

In December of last year, officers searched Peoples’ car and his home on West Lexington Street. In his home, they recovered 900 grams of heroin, over $400,000 in cash stored in a Louis Vuitton bag, a Rolex watch and various drug paraphernalia. In his car, they found 68 grams of heroin.

A Baltimore City man is facing state and federal charges in connection with drug trafficking in Harford County, the Harford County Sheriff’s Office said.

He was arrested Jan. 9, and 49 cellphones were seized from his house and car. A search of the phones revealed hundreds of text messages between Peoples, his co-conspirator, and customers arranging to buy and sell heroin.The Harford County Narcotics Task Force and DEA coordinated with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies through the assistance of the Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area in order to link Peoples’ phones to 27 overdose cases.

The victims, residents of Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, had contacted Peoples’ drug phones prior to their overdoses to buy drugs.

Earlier this year, Capt. Lee Dunbar, head of the Harford County task force, said members investigating the sources of heroin and fentanyl often end up in Baltimore City.

“Unfortunately, more often than not, we are tracing back our source suppliers to Baltimore City. We’re not alone. That’s the vast majority of Maryland, Baltimore metro counties, Baltimore City is their source supply, as well as for northern Virginia, northeast West Virginia and as far out as western Maryland,” Dunbar said.

Peoples faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin; and a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of 40 years in prison for possession with intent to distribute heroin.

Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 16.

Baltimore Sun Media Group reporter Erika Butler contributed to this article.

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