Suffolk DA: Amityville Man Convicted of Selling Fentanyl in Connection With Fatal Overdose
Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini has announced the trial conviction of an Amityville man for selling fentanyl in connection with a fatal overdose.
Austin Hunter, a/k/a “Malik,” 43, of Amityville, was convicted by a jury yesterday of three counts of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony; Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony; and Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor.
“Unfortunately New York State still does not have an explicit ‘death-by-dealer’ statute on the books, but that hasn’t stopped our Office from arresting and convicting drug dealers in connection with fatal overdoses, and seeking maximum prison time for those criminals,” District Attorney Sini said. “This particular case was very unique in that even though narcotics were not seized from the scene, we were still able to prove that Mr. Hunter had sold fentanyl to the overdose victim based solely on toxicology, which was a first for Suffolk County. His conviction was the result of an excellent investigation by the Long Island Heroin Task Force and outstanding prosecution by ADAs Danielle Davis and Nicole Felice.”
“Those who prey on the addicted to increase their bottom line should know that we take fatal overdoses very seriously and utilize every tool to ensure dealers are held accountable,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said. “I applaud the efforts of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, which for the first time in Suffolk County used a toxicology report as evidence in a successful conviction of a drug dealer and the Long Island Heroin Task Force for holding Austin Hunter accountable and for sending a message to others like him that we are committed to halting the opioid epidemic.”
On April 20, 2019, Suffolk County Police officers responded to a suspected fatal overdose in Lindenhurst. The Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner determined that the cause of death was a fentanyl overdose.
An analysis of the decedent’s cell phone, which was recovered from the scene of the fatal overdose, revealed evidence that he had purchased narcotics from Hunter.
On May 2, 2019, law enforcement agents from the Long Island Heroin Task Force conducted a covert operation to purchase narcotics from Hunter. He was arrested upon his arrival at the agreed-upon location.
The case marks the first conviction in Suffolk County history for a criminal sale of a controlled substance based upon a toxicology analysis as opposed to the physical recovery of narcotics. It is also the first felony trial conviction in Suffolk County since jury trials were reinstated following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Pandemic or no pandemic, if you are selling drugs in Suffolk County, we are coming for you. Simple as that,” District Attorney Sini said.
The trial began on Oct. 14. The jury deliberated for approximately four and one-half hours before returning a verdict of guilty.
Hunter is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 15. He faces a maximum sentence of up to 24 years in prison. He is being represented by Christopher Gioe.
District Attorney Sini thanks the Long Island Heroin Task Force, which comprises detectives from the Suffolk County Police Department and Nassau County Police Department, for its investigation of this case and ongoing commitment to targeting drug dealers who cause overdoses in our communities.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Danielle Davis, of the Narcotics Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Nicole Felice, currently assigned to the Intake Bureau.