Local dealer gets 15 years for customer’s overdose death

POWAY, Calif. — A drug dealer who sold a counterfeit oxycodone pill laced with fentanyl to a man who died in Poway after smoking part of it was sentenced Friday to 15 years in state prison.

Alfredo Lemus Jr. 31, pleaded guilty last month to voluntary manslaughter in the Nov. 16, 2016, overdose death of 26-year-old Richard Summerfruit.

Superior Court Judge Albert Harutunian III sentenced Lemus, who also pleaded guilty to selling a controlled substance, possession for sale of a controlled substance and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Sheriff Bill Gore said last month that deputies began an investigation into who sold the drugs to the victim after responding to a radio call.

“Through tireless investigation they proved Alfredo Lemus knowingly sold drugs containing the lethal opiate fentanyl to not only the victim in Poway, but to numerous others, as well,” Gore said then. “I am grateful for the work of the Medical Examiner, District Attorney and our other partners to bring this killer to justice. The Sheriff’s Department instituted an overdose response protocol so that all overdose deaths are fully investigated by deputies and the suppliers of deadly drugs are brought to justice. This case is but one example of this proactive approach.”

Authorities said more people are dying each year in San Diego County from accidental overdose or substance abuse intoxication of opioids, part of a national epidemic. Deaths specifically from fentanyl in San Diego County are spiking, with more than 40 fatal overdoses last year alone.

In 2016, 544 people died of unintentional drug and alcohol overdoses in San Diego County, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office. About half of those deaths are attributed to opioids, including heroin, fentanyl and prescription drugs such as oxycodone, Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine and deadly in small doses.