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Columbia County Man Pleads Guilty in Connection with Two Overdose Deaths

ALBANY, NEW YORK – Jacob Ebel, age 32, of Niverville, New York, pled guilty today to drug conspiracy and possession charges, and admitted that he distributed heroin and fentanyl to two people who took these drugs and then died in Columbia County in July 2016.  He agreed to be sentenced to 18 years in prison.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith; New York State Police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett; and Columbia County Sheriff David P. Bartlett.

United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith stated: “Jacob Ebel was a merchant of death whose heroin and fentanyl killed two people in less than three weeks.  Thanks to the quick and thorough work of our law enforcement partners, Ebel is being held responsible for his crimes and the pain and suffering he inflicted on two families.  We will continue to pursue those who peddle this poison, while also maintaining our robust education and outreach efforts aimed at turning the tide of opiate addiction.”

State Police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett stated: “I commend our members at Troop K and our law enforcement partners for bringing this perpetrator to justice. Jacob Ebel had absolutely no regard for his victims, instead selling them a dangerous and deadly mix of illegal drugs just to make a profit. We have absolutely no tolerance for those who destroy lives, families and communities for their own personal gain.”

Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett stated: “There should be zero tolerance for those who peddle poison on our streets. These dealers are killers and we will continue to work with our federal and state law enforcement partners to bring them to justice for their heinous behavior. I thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, New York State Police, Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka and members of the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office who all worked collaboratively to deliver justice in this case.”

In pleading guilty, Ebel admitted to selling heroin, fentanyl and other controlled substances, from 2014 through July 26, 2016, in Columbia County. 

Ebel admitted to dealing heroin and fentanyl first to a man identified as S.B., who overdosed on July 3, 2016 and died five days later, and then to a woman identified as S.S., who overdosed and died on July 23, 2016.

S.B., age 29, overdosed and was found unconscious in Niverville on July 3, 2016, less than a mile from Ebel’s house.  A State Police investigation established that prior to the overdose, S.B. had had extensive text message communications with Ebel, and that Ebel had sold heroin and fentanyl to S.B. at about 2:15 p.m. on July 3, 2016, several hours before S.B. was found unresponsive.  Inside S.B.’s vehicle, State Police located a folded, yellow sticky note with heroin and fentanyl, and “4-0” written on the outside – the amount of money that S.B. told the defendant he had in the text message conversations. 

Ebel and S.B. were friends.  Ebel knew that S.B. had died, but he kept dealing heroin and fentanyl.

On the morning of July 23, 2016, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) responded to a house in Stuyvesant, New York, and found S.S. dead.  Sheriff’s Investigators found three folded sticky notes in a small plastic bag on her bed; the notes contained heroin and fentanyl.  The CCSO investigation established that Ebel had sold heroin and fentanyl to S.S.’s husband in the days prior to S.S.’s death, and that S.S., age 19, had taken these drugs and died. 

Law enforcement executed a search warrant on Ebel’s house in the early morning hours of July 26, 2016.  Investigators seized about 16 grams of heroin and fentanyl that Ebel intended to sell.  Ebel was arrested that day and has been in custody ever since.

In his plea agreement, Ebel agreed to be sentenced to 216 months, or 18 years, in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release.  United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino will decide whether to accept or reject the recommended sentence on or before the January 8, 2019 sentencing date.  If Judge D’Agostino does not agree with an 18-year sentence, Ebel would be allowed to withdraw his plea and the case would proceed to trial.

This case was the result of a joint investigation conducted by the New York State Police-Troop K and Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the office of Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Barnett.

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