Harrisonburg man pleads guilty to selling deadly mix of heroin and fentanyl

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — A Harrisonburg man has pleaded guilty to selling a mix of heroin and fentanyl that led to a fatal overdose the next day.

According to the Department of Justice, 38-year-old Richard William Mansfield pleaded guilty in Harrisonburg's U.S. District Court on Wednesday to federal drug distribution charges.

Mansfield waived his rights to be indicted and instead pleaded guilty to one count of distributing a mixture and substance containing heroin and fentanyl.

He'll face sentencing on January 28, 2019, where he could get up to 30 years in prison with a $2 million fine.

According to testimony in court by Assistant United States Attorney Jeb Terrien, Mansfield sold a mixture of heroin and fentanyl to Matthew Jason Murphy on December 12, 2017. The next day, Murphy was found dead of a drug overdose, which medical examiners found to be caused by fentanyl and heroin intoxication.

“As this heartbreaking case illustrates, the opioid epidemic is destroying the fabric of our society,” U.S. Attorney Thomas T. Cullen stated. “While there is no simple solution to this multi-faceted problem, the United States Attorney’s Office will continue to work with our state and local law-enforcement partners to prosecute those who deal these deadly drugs and seek stiff federal penalties, particularly in cases where the unlawful distribution results in the loss of life. At the same time, we will continue to treat victims with compassion, while supporting treatment for those struggling with addiction.”

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Virginia State Police, and Harrisonburg Police Department, with the assistance of Rockingham County Commonwealth’s Attorney Marsha L. Garst. Assistant United States Attorney Jeb Terrien is prosecuting the case for the United States.