Pike County man sentenced to life in fentanyl case

Published 1:01 pm Thursday, February 9, 2023


U.S. Attorney’s Office

Eastern District of Kentucky

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A Pike County man was sentenced to life in prison recently after he was convicted in a fentanyl-distribution case that caused the death of another person.

Justin Bryant, 38, of Shelbiana, was sentenced to life in federal prison Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Robert Wier for distributing fentanyl and para-flurofentanyl that caused death of a victim, and for conspiring with others to distribute heroin, fentanyl and para-fluorofentanyl.

Bryant was convicted by a federal jury in October 2022. According to evidence at trial, on Oct. 12, 2021, Bryant smuggled drugs into the Pike County Detention Center and distributed them. The drugs contained fentanyl and para-fluorofentanyl, and their use resulted in the death of another individual in the jail.

At sentencing, Judge Wier made a finding that there was reliable evidence connecting Bryant to another overdose death in August 2021. The evidence also documented that, even after the overdose death of the victim on Oct. 12, 2021, staff with the Pike County Detention Center and Pikeville Police Department prevented Bryant from bringing drugs into the jail on two additional occasions. The conviction in this case is the most recent of 30 prior criminal convictions that Bryant received during the past 20 years.    

Carlton S. Shier IV, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky in Lexington; J. Todd Scott, Special Agent in Charge, DEA Louisville Field Division; and Mike Riddle, Chief of the Pikeville Police Department jointly announced the sentence.

The investigation was conducted by the DEA and the Pikeville Police. The United States was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew H. Trimble.