HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- A Harrisonburg man, who was found guilty by a jury in May 2013, was sentenced Thursday in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Harrisonburg on heroin distribution charges.
Jean Paul Alvarado, 31, of Harrisonburg, Va., was indicted in July 2012 one a single charge of distributing heroin and that serious bodily injury and death resulted from the use of such substance. Following a jury trial earlier this year, Alvarado was found guilty of that charge. Thursday in district court, he was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.
“The abuse of heroin is a public health crisis, most emphatically illustrated by the staggering increase in overdose deaths in our district,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said Thursday. “We are focusing our investigative resources to meet this threat, as evidenced by cases like this one. We are also working with schools, non-profit organizations and other community groups on prevention, education and treatment solutions. A comprehensive approach is essential if we are going to successfully repel this large and growing threat.”
During trial, the United States introduced evidence that one of Alvarado’s heroin customers overdosed and died after using heroin Alvarado had sold to him on March 29, 2011. After Alvarado was arrested, he told police that he had sold heroin to the customer who died. The jury found Alvarado guilty of distributing heroin that resulted in death.
In its ongoing battle against heroin abuse, the United States Attorney’s Office, along with the Virginia State Police and the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force, is cosponsoring a heroin summit on Friday at Shenandoah University. This summit will bring together community leaders, law enforcement, school officials, treatment service providers, and others, to work toward comprehensive solutions to the escalating heroin problem in the region.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the RUSH Drug Task Force and the Harrisonburg Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Grayson Hoffman prosecuted the case for the United States.