Dayton man sentenced for dealing ‘toe-tag’ drug that killed 2

The first of two Dayton men convicted of distributing “toe-tag” fentanyl that killed two people in May 2015 was sentenced Monday to 15 years in federal prison.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Rose told Antonio Spiva, 25, that Spiva may have been a follower in the drug operation that killed Paul McElfresh, 33, and Jason Robinson, 38, but that serious crimes merit serious sentences.

“This entire situation, this plague that has been visited on this community and the nation as a whole, is a tragedy,” Rose said. “This drug culture, this heroin/fentanyl plague, there are no winners, only losers. As a whole, the community loses.”

RELATED: Dayton man admits guilt in ‘toe-tag’ heroin case

Spiva had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl. His co-defendant, Charles M. McBeath, is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday, also in Dayton’s U.S. District Court. McBeath faces a sentence from 10 to 18 years.

Both men were originally indicted by a federal grand jury in December 2015 on 12 counts and have remained in custody.

Spiva and McBeath distributed heroin that included fentanyl at several east Dayton locations during the 2015 Memorial Day weekend. Apart from the two deaths, five other people overdosed and were revived by Narcan from what county officials called “toe-tag heroin.”

RELATED: McBeath pleads guilty for distributing fentanyl that killed two

Spiva, who had no serious criminal background before this case, said he’s not a bad person and not who he is being portrayed to be.

“To the families of the victims, I honestly do apologize,” Spiva said as a family member of a victim began to cry. “I’m no murderer. I had no intent on killing anyone. I had no malice in my heart.”

Spiva said he was a high school graduate, played some college football and had been employed as reasons why he should get mercy. He said that, while incarcerated, he would, “pick up trades, go to school, do whatever there is to do to better my life.”

RELATED: Police say defendants hid drugs in body cavities

Defense attorney Aaron Durden argued for the bottom end of the 12- to 18-year sentencing range agreed to in a plea deal. Durden said Spiva was a follower: “It was well-known that the co-defendant had an operation going prior to Mr. Spiva’s involvement.”

Spiva’s great-aunt testified before sentencing.

“Antonio has always been a great person, always respectful,” she said. “He was a follower in this case and he deep regrets his decision. … This is his first offense and his last.”

McBeath — who went by aliases such as “Fat Boy” and “Biggin” — and Spiva — aka “B” and “Snake” — were accused of running a drug distribution operation that allegedly operated from June 2014 to May 2015 at Dayton properties on East Fifth Street, South Torrence Street and South Horton Street.

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Assistant U.S. attorney Sheila Lafferty said that even after the defendants heard about overdoses, they continued to sell the drugs and that Spiva left town to go to Chicago when he heard police were involved.

Police said that when Spiva and McBeath were apprehended, they both had drugs concealed in their body cavities.

Lafferty argued for the top end of the range, saying an extensive sentence “will send a clear message to drug dealers in this community that there are consequences. … Anywhere in the supply chain, you can be held accountable.”

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