The morning after a Hamburg man's mother found him dead of a fentanyl overdose in a chair of his home in Hamburg, a text message appeared on his phone.
"Call me wen u get this bro," the text said.
It was the drug dealer, Carlique DeBerry, 40, of Buffalo, who had delivered the previous night what was purported to be heroin but turned out to be fentanyl, according to federal prosecutors.
A Hamburg police officer investigating the overdose death texted the dealer back.
"That was some heavy stuff," the police officer wrote, pretending to be the dead man. He asked what it was.
"Its pure thats whats up wit it bro," the dealer texted back.
The Hamburg police officer arranged for DeBerry to sell another bundle of the "heroin" for $100.
That was some of the evidence prosecutors had against DeBerry, who pleaded guilty in December to distribution of fentanyl causing death and was sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny to 20 years in prison.
The overdose victim, identified by prosecutors as "R.G.," was found dead shortly after midnight on Feb. 26, 2016, said Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brendan T. Cullinane and Wei Xiang.
An autopsy showed he died of acute fentanyl intoxication.
Fentanyl is a powerful, cheaply made opioid that is often mixed with heroin and has been attributed to many overdoses.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Hamburg Police Department.