Hawaiian Gardens man convicted of selling fentanyl that killed an 18-year-old

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

LOS ANGELES — A Hawaiian Gardens man was found guilty Monday of selling purported black tar heroin that in fact was fentanyl to an 18-year-old victim who later ingested it and suffered a fatal overdose from the powerful synthetic opioid.

Gregory Hevener, 47, was found guilty in downtown Los Angeles of one federal count each of distribution of fentanyl resulting in death and possession with intent to distribute heroin. He has been in federal custody since February 2022.

According to evidence presented at a seven-day trial, in November 2020, the victim responded to an ad placed by Hevener on the website OfferUp, an online marketplace. The listing advertised the sale of “black tar roofing materials” — coded language for black tar heroin — in Long Beach.

OfferUp records revealed Hevener operated or had access to several accounts on the platform, in which he advertised and distributed drugs, including heroin and fentanyl.

Hevener and the victim met in Hawaiian Gardens and the victim purchased what he believed to be heroin from Hevener. Instead, Hevener sold what was a black, tar-like substance containing fentanyl and tramadol, a pain-relief medication. The victim then drove home and took the drugs, suffering a fatal overdose, evidence showed.

In July and October 2021, law enforcement searched trash cans outside of Hevener’s residence in Hawaiian Gardens and seized discarded plastic bags and burnt pieces of tinfoil containing fentanyl and tramadol residue.

Another search in December 2021 resulted in the seizure of a plastic bag containing about 245 grams of black tar heroin, a digital scale, burnt tin foil, and a plastic bag containing roughly 1.2 grams of fentanyl, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

U.S. District Judge Mark C. Scarsi scheduled a Sept. 16 sentencing hearing, at which time Hevener will face between 20 years and life in federal prison, prosecutors said.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.