Dealer In Fatal Fentanyl Overdose Gets Federal Prison Time

U.S. Attorney David C. Weiss announced that Stefano Saienni, 31, of Wilmington, was sentenced on June 1, 2023, to 90 months in federal prison for distributing fentanyl.  U.S. District Judge Richard G. Andrews pronounced the sentence. 

The government successfully argued at sentencing that Saienni sold fentanyl-laced pills that ultimately led to the overdose death of William H. Ebert, IV. While the Department of Justice typically does not disclose the names of victims, Mr. Ebert’s family wished that he not be forgotten said Weiss.

According to court documents and statements made in court, in May 2022, the New Castle County Police Department responded to a fatal overdose in Bear, Delaware. After locating and analyzing the victim’s cellular phones, law enforcement located messages between Saienni and the victim coordinating the sale of counterfeit oxycodone pills, which contained fentanyl. Within those messages, Saienni often described the counterfeit pills as “fire” knowing there was fentanyl inside.

U.S. Attorney Weiss commented on the sentencing, “Illicit drug overdoses continue to destroy families and ravage our communities. Investigating and prosecuting those who sell fentanyl and counterfeit pills is paramount to my office and our state, local, and federal law enforcement partners.  We will seek justice against those who profit from illegally selling fentanyl. As importantly, if customers die from using their product, drug dealers will face the prospect of significant prison sentences.”

“The dangers of fake pills cannot be underestimated, as evidenced by Saienni’s sale of them that resulted in an overdose death,” said Thomas Hodnett, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Philadelphia Field Division.  “Fake pills are more widely available, more accessible, and deadlier than ever before.