In a letter to a federal judge, a Waterbury drug dealer implicated in an Ansonia overdose death wrote that he learned his lesson after seeing “the havoc that addiction causes and the impact it has on families.”
“I no longer want to be the reason why men are outside all day trying to steal so they could get a five dollar hit, or why women are on the corner all night selling and degrading themselves,” the drug dealer, Jeremy Waver, wrote.
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer ensured he won’t be — for at least the next seven years.
The judge handed down an 84-month sentence in New Haven federal court Feb. 28 on a charge of distributing controlled substances. Waver had pleaded guilty in December.
The case stems from the death of a 23-year-old woman in Ansonia April 2, 2017.
In a sentencing memorandum federal prosecutors asked the judge to throw the book at Waver with a longer sentence.
“The defendant chose to deal in highly dangerous drugs — and therefore willingly risked the lives of his customers,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Laraia. “As such, when death results — as it did here — an upward departure . . . is appropriate.”
Several friends and family members of the overdose victims wrote letters to the judge expressing their loss. The letters weren’t made public.
The woman was found after police and EMS were sent to an apartment on a report of an overdose, according to court documents.
An autopsy determined she had died from furanyl fentanyl, a form of a dangerously potent synthetic opioid.
Police found the drug in a hypodermic needle found at the scene, along with several baggies of the drug.
Cops reviewed the woman’s Facebook messages and determined she and another person had bought the drugs in Waterbury the day before.
The phone number associated with the dealer belonged to Waver.
Officers from a DEA task force arrested Waver in Waterbury May 4, 2017.
In his car they found bundles of heroin marked with the same stamp as the baggies of the drug found in the apartment where the woman died.
They also found crack cocaine, fentanyl, and furanyl fentanyl in Waver’s home.
According to a plea deal in the case, federal sentencing guidelines called for Waver to receive a prison sentence in the range of 33 to 41 months behind bars.
Waver’s lawyer wrote a sentencing memo asking the judge for a “downward departure” from the guidelines — a two-year prison sentence.
A Danbury native, Waver moved to Waterbury at the age of 10 with his mother, who supported him.
His father was largely absent from his life, battling crack addiction. Despite having won a “Win For Life” scratch-off prize from the Connecticut Lottery, Waver said his father’s money “went to drugs.”
Eventually Waver started using drugs himself.
He apologized to the parents of the woman who died in Ansonia for having had to live through the nightmare of losing a child.
The prosecutor noted that heroin and opioid overdoses had reached epidemic proportions.
Laraia asked Judge Meyer to make an example of Waver to “send a message to other potential defendants engaged in the dealing of dangerous drugs that they, too, could be subject to prosecution.”
The prosecutor also pointed out Waver had gone to jail for prior drug convictions — and that he was out on bond in two drug cases in state court when he sold the drugs that killed the victim.
“Because the defendant is a repeat offender, this sentence should be incrementally higher than other sentences . . . this defendant has amassed numerous convictions over the course of his career,” Laraia wrote. “Intervention of the criminal justice system has been thus far unsuccessful in curbing the defendant’s criminal conduct.”
In the end, Judge Mayer agreed with prosecutors.
In addition to the seven-year prison sentence, the judge sentenced Waver to serve three years of probation after he’s released from prison.
Waver was also ordered to pay $4,503.96 in restitution to the victim’s father to cover a portion of her funeral expenses.
The case was investigated by the the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Haven Tactical Diversion Squad and the Ansonia Police Department, Durham said.