Second Springfield man sentenced for trafficking elephant tranquilizer

Craig H. Gilbreath Jr.

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Craig H. Gilbreath Jr.

A 20-year-old Springfield man was sentenced Wednesday in federal court to five years in prison for possessing and trafficking carfentanil, a powerful opioid that has been used as an elephant tranquilizer.

Craig H. Gilbreath Jr. and a co-defendant encountered Springfield police in June 2017 and Gilbreath ran, throwing bags containing about 14 grams of carfentanil.

Gilbreath pleaded guilty in August 2018 to one count of possessing with the intent to distribute more than 10 grams of carfentanil.

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The DEA says carfentanil is an analogue of fentanyl that is 10,000 times more potent than morphine.

“Powerful opioids, such as carfentanil, will continue to be a serious threat to America and Ohio as long as drug dealers such as Gilbreath are willing to put themselves and the community at risk,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Timothy J. Plancon said in a press release.

“Gilbreath was in possession of enough carfentanil to kill approximately 700,000 people. This case is a testament to the relentless determination of law enforcement to make a significant impact on the opioid supply in Ohio and to keep our communities drug free.”

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U.S. District Court Judge Walter Rice recommended Gilbreath get all allowable jail-time credit, mental health assessment, counseling and treatment, job training and skills classes. The judge also ordered five years’ supervised release.

In June 2018, co-defendant Christian O. Dearmond, then 25, was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison.

Dearmond also was ordered to serve 100 hours of community service or job training plus maintain employment after his release from federal prison.

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“The nature of the crime itself is incredibly serious,” Rice said during Dearmond’s sentencing about carfentanil, which can kill someone who has direct contact with enough of it. “It’s really a miracle that anyone who purchased drugs from Mr. Dearmond did not fatally overdose.”

Assistant U.S. attorney Andrew Hunt wrote in a sentencing memorandum that despite his age, Gilbreath “has an extensive criminal history, and has been non-compliant while under court supervision and incarcerated.”

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