SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A Ramona man is facing at least 20 years in federal prison for selling heroin that resulted in a 23-year-old man's fatal overdose, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Maxwell Joseph Gaffney, 25, was convicted late Monday of distribution of heroin resulting in death in connection with the Feb. 17, 2017, death of Kyle J. Rodriguez.
Text messages and emails presented at trial showed that Gaffney sold about half a gram of black tar heroin to Rodriguez just hours before his girlfriend found him collapsed in the bathroom of his parents' Ramona home.
Rodriguez was instructed by Gaffney via text to leave money for the drugs inside Gaffney's mailbox, according to prosecutors.
Despite his problems with addiction, prosecutors said Rodriguez had achieved "months of sobriety'' prior to his death, as confirmed by regular random drug screenings.
Gaffney's attorneys argued that Rodriguez had another source of heroin that supplied him with the fatal dose, though prosecutors said no such other supplier could be found through a search of Rodriguez's cell phone.
A federal jury convicted Gaffney after about two hours of deliberations, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. He's slated to be sentenced Sept. 23.
"These purveyors of poisons are killing our citizens and tearing apart the fabric of our families,'' U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer said. "We must continue to combat the opioid crisis by every possible means at our disposal.''