Atlanta heroin dealer gets over 15 years for selling drugs that killed student

An Atlanta man has been sentenced to serve more than 15 years in prison for selling heroin that caused a college student’s overdose death, federal prosecutors said.

DeAngelo Copeland, 37, was sentenced last week to serve 15 years and eight months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release. He had pleaded guilty in September to a charge of distributing heroin.

Atlanta police responded after someone called 911 on April 10, 2018, seeking medical attention for the 22-year-old student. The student ended up dying from an overdose that night. An investigation showed that the student had ordered heroin from Copeland by text message that afternoon, prosecutors said in a news release.

Investigators were able to identify Copeland as the person who sold the drugs by using the same phone number to set up undercover drug purchases. An undercover officer bought drugs from Copeland multiple times.

Prosecutors said Copeland has a history of drug trafficking and acknowledged that the heroin he sold caused the college student’s death.

"Copeland’s heroin distribution led to yet another drug overdose death in our community," U.S. Attorney Kurt Erskine said. "Opioid overdoses will be investigated and prosecuted as a federal priority and those who sell this poison will be held accountable for the death and suffering that it causes."

  "The sentencing of Copeland proves that the justice system is committed to holding drug traffickers accountable for their crimes," said Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant. "Additionally, the sentencing sends a message to drug traffickers that the illegal sale of drugs will not be tolerated in Atlanta."


The Associated Press contributed to this report.