Raymond Hawthorne, Jr. was a known drug dealer in Abbeville. Now, he's a known drug dealer who is headed to federal prison.

In 2002, the then-28-year-old Hawthorne was convicted of conspiracy to distribute cocaine base. Fast forward 17 years later to August of 2019 and Hawthorne - who was on federal supervised release - was caught taking money from his co-defendant who sold approximately 25 grams of a mixture containing a detectable amount of fentanyl to an undercover police officer.

According to a press release from United States Attorney Brandon B. Brown, Hawthorne pleaded guilty to distribution of fentanyl on November 4, 2021. This week, he was sentenced to 57 months in prison followed by 3 years probation.

Fentanyl, image from Youtube via CBC News

Fentanyl has become a leading drug in an epidemic that takes over 100,000 lives each year, according to the CDC. The drug is often added to heroin without it being disclosed to the person buying the drug. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency outlines how dangerous fentanyl has become:

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine. Pharmaceutical fentanyl was developed for pain management treatment of cancer patients, applied in a patch on the skin. Because of its powerful opioid properties, Fentanyl is also diverted for abuse. Fentanyl is added to heroin to increase its potency, or be disguised as highly potent heroin. Many users believe that they are purchasing heroin and actually don’t know that they are purchasing fentanyl – which often results in overdose deaths. Clandestinely-produced fentanyl is primarily manufactured in Mexico.


In the video below, CBC News gives you a visual of how the painkiller became a public health crisis and why law enforcement officers across the country are fighting hard to get it off the streets.

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