Man charged in deadly heroin distribution case

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A Virginia Beach man has been charged with distributing heroin that caused another man’s death.

Stephen Ron Martin II, 20, of Virginia Beach was charged with distribution of heroin resulting in death in a criminal complaint that was filed on April 21 and unsealed Tuesday, according to Deanna Warren with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

According to the criminal complaint, Martin supplied heroin to Steven Bradley Nichols on October 27. Two days later, Virginia Beach Police received a 911 call, requesting a well-being check on Nichols. Officers found him unresponsive in his apartment and found evidence of recent heroin use.

“A depressed syringe was found on top of a desk within an arm’s length of Nichols’ body. A needle mark was on Nichols’ arm. Two plastic bags, one of which was open, containing off-white powder were found on the kitchen counter,” Warren said.

The bags were tested and found to contain heroin. An autopsy confirmed that Nichols died as a result of acute heroin intoxication.

The Virginia Beach Police Department says that Martin is one of 49 people who have been arrested in the last several months in relation to overdoses and heroin related deaths. The arrests are part of an initiative to combat a noticeable increase in heroin overdoses and deaths in the city since August 2012.

Last year, police reported 62 overdoses and 25 deaths attributed to heroin use in Virginia Beach, according to Tonya Borman with the VBPD.

“Members of Special Investigations examined and assumed a proactive approach, assigning narcotics detectives to respond to all reported overdoses and deaths in an effort to gather information and potential leads regarding the distribution of narcotics,” Borman said. “As a result of these initiatives, Detectives spent many hours conducting surveillance of known heroin dealers, interviewing heroin users and witnesses and reviewing records, analyzing the information gathered from every reported overdose and drug related death.”

Detectives were able to garner leads on heroin dealers and seize heroin, fetynal, cocaine, marijuana, firearms, vehicles and cash — all related to heroin cases, one of which involved a large-scale heroin distributor throughout Hampton Roads.

The initiative has produced five case which are being prosecuted federally by the United States Attorney’s Office. Additionally, Borman said more cases are under investigation.

If convicted, Martin faces a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison and maximum penalty of life in prison.

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