This story has been updated with additional information from the defense.
A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced Reza Hashemi, 34, of Alexandria, to 15 years in prison for conspiring to distribute more than 400 grams of fentanyl that resulted in the death of a 26-year-old woman.
Hashemi distributed the fentanyl in Northern Virginia from July 2020 to June 2021, according to court documents.
According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office that was also distributed by the Fairfax County Police Department: “Hashemi was identified following the October 24, 2020, overdose death of a 22-year-old male, J.V., in Vienna. Hashemi admitted to distributing pressed counterfeit pills containing fentanyl to J.V. During the course of the investigation into J.V.’s death, law enforcement approached Hashemi and informed him of the death, but he did not agree to speak with them. Instead, Hashemi continued to distribute fentanyl.”
Then, on May 28, 2021, Reza Hashemi distributed a gram of powder fentanyl to a 26-year-old woman. The woman’s death was attributed to accidental fentanyl poisoning.
Hashemi’s attorney, Assistant Federal Public Defender Cadence A. Mertz, in an email, disputed the information the U.S. Attorney’s Office provided about the first overdose death, saying that the news release suggested that he was guilty of the man’s death. Mertz said that was not supported by evidence.
Mertz said that Hashemi accepted responsibility for dealing the gram of fentanyl that resulted in the woman’s death in May 2021.
“Mr. Hashemi became addicted to opioids after suffering trauma early in his life. He accepted responsibility early on in this case and continues to do so. Although we do not agree that the sentence imposed was necessary, Mr. Hashemi accepts the court’s decision and is determined to address his own addiction through the next 15 years and beyond,” Mertz said, in an email.
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