Trial underway for Warren man accused of selling drugs that led to an overdose death

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Maurice Washington, 32, of West Avenue NW, faces charges of distribution of fentanyl resulting in death, three counts of distribution of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl, possession with intent to distribute tramadol, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug crime and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Trial is underway in federal court for a Warren man accused of drug and firearm charges and for also selling drugs that led to the overdose death of a man in 2018.

Maurice Washington, 34, of West Avenue NW in Warren, is on trial before U.S. Judge Patricia A. Gaughan in the U.S. Northern District Court of Ohio on charges of distribution of fentanyl resulting in death, three counts of distribution of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl, possession with intent to distribute tramadol, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug crime and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Washington is accused of selling fentanyl to a man Sept. 29, 2018, in Warren that led to the death of a man identified as “C.B.,” in court records.

A jury was selected Monday, and jurors heard testimony Monday and Tuesday and are expected to hear more testimony Wednesday.

Washington is also accused of selling cocaine on Nov. 14, 15 and 16 of 2018, selling heroin, fentanyl and painkillers on Nov. 21, 2018, and of having a .25-caliber pistol, .22-caliber revolver and 9mm handgun also on Nov. 21, 2018.

Washington is not allowed to have a firearm because of a 2010 conviction for possession of heroin in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.

The government is also seeking the seizure of all three guns as well as $1,537 cash they say Washington had as a result of illegal drug sales.

A trial brief by the government said the 40-year-old victim was found about 3 a.m. Sept. 29, 2018, in the bathtub of his home by his wife. The brief said police were able to use the victim’s cellphone as well as information from his wife to determine who sold him the drugs that caused his death.

On Oct. 28, 2018, a few days after a confidential source made an undercover drug buy at the Forest Street address where the dealer was supposed to be dealing the drugs, someone threw a Molotov Cocktail at the home, causing it to catch on fire, the brief said.

After a few more undercover buys in November, police served a search warrant on West Avenue, where they found guns, drugs and three cell phones. The brief said Washington admitted everything was his except one gun and he denied police permission to look at his phones.

Washington told police he bought the guns off the street to protect himself because his home was firebombed, the brief said.

The brief said a warrant was issued so the phones could be searched, and investigators were able to place Washington and the victim together just before the victim died based on the locations of their phones. Records also showed the victim and Washington exchanged several messages before the victim died, the brief said.

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