2 men sentenced to prison for role in fatal fentanyl overdose

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Two Rhode Island men accused of selling the fentanyl that authorities say led to the death of a 27-year-old man were sentenced to prison.

A judge sentenced David Grimaldi and Robert Bell, both 24, to serve at least 30 months in federal prison Thursday for the sale that resulted in the death of Nicholas Bateman last year, the Providence Journal reported.

In October, Grimaldi testified that he engaged the help of Bell to help him find a buyer for some pills that were laced with fentanyl, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Providence.

Bateman’s obituary noted that he worked as a construction worker at the time and struggled with addiction.

Bell set a price for the drugs and arranged for Grimaldi to meet Bateman in a West Warwick parking lot, where he gave the victim three pills that were marked and colored to look like oxycodone tablets, prosecutors said.

Grimaldi said that he watched while Bateman swallowed half the pill before becoming unresponsive within minutes. He later died at Kent County Hospital and fentanyl, an opioid painkiller that is many times more powerful than heroin, was found in his bloodstream.

The Rhode Island Medical Examiner determined that Bateman died as a result of the toxic effects of alcohol and fentanyl.

“Defendants’ actions in this case ended in the gravest possible result: a young man’s life tragically cut short,” U.S. Attorney Aaron Weisman said in a news release Friday,

Both men’s sentencing will be followed by three years of supervised release.

(Copyright (c) 2020 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)