Posted on: Feb 26, 2022 at 1:32 am.
Last updated on: February 26, 2022 01:32 am.
A 35-year-old man has pleaded guilty to dispensing a mixture of heroin and fentanyl in the parking lot of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Florida. A person who shot himself with the drugs died in the November 2019 incident, prosecutors said.
The defendant, Nicholas Primo, initially fled the casino in Hollywood, Fla. after realizing the man had died, prosecutors add. Later, Primo allegedly attempted to move the victim’s car out of the casino’s garage with an unnamed friend.
Primo recently pleaded guilty to possession and distribution of a controlled substance in the case. After his conviction, Primo could face up to 20 years in prison, according to Roger B. Handberg, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida. A judge has not yet set a date for the sentencing.
The deceased victim has not been identified. Primo also allegedly distributed narcotics to a second unidentified person at the Hard Rock.
Primo confessed to buying $1,600 worth of heroin before distributing it, Handberg said.
When the deceased victim was discovered, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office took over the investigation. It was prosecuted under the Florida Federal Central District’s Anti-Opioid Trafficking and Abuse Initiative.
Primo was previously sentenced to three years in prison in Florida in 2016 for drug offenses, including trafficking methamphetamines Tampa Bay Times reported citing court records. Primo used to be an energy consultant. He has lived in both Rhode Island and Florida.
Previous fentanyl case in the casino
In an unrelated incident, Ledra A. Craig, 43, of Wright City, Missouri, was charged in 2020 with distributing fentanyl at the Ameristar Casino in St. Charles, Missouri. The drugs could have resulted in a man’s death. It is not immediately known what happened to the case against Craig.
Authorities launched an investigation after a vehicle rolled into a yard and two men were found unconscious in the car. A man was revived. The other died.
The two bought what they believed to be cocaine at the casino, police said. The drug deal was caught on casino security cameras.
Later, an undercover cop bought $400 worth of suspected fentanyl from Craig. Craig also had previous convictions for illegal drugs.
Fentanyl has become notable for playing a major role in the US opioid epidemic. The drug is similar to morphine but is “50 to 100 times more potent,” the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported. It can be prescribed by doctors to treat severe pain.
“It is typically used to treat patients with severe pain or to treat pain after surgery,” the NIDA explained.
A second federal conviction for distributing fentanyl will result in a life sentence. The first federal conviction will likely result in a 20-year sentence.