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Man pleads guilty to dealing fentanyl-laced heroin that killed Fargo man

Marcel Washington

FARGO — A man accused of supplying heroin laced with fentanyl that led to the fatal overdose of a 26-year-old Fargo man pleaded guilty in federal court here to distributing a controlled substance resulting in death.

Marcel Dajon Washington, 27, entered the plea Tuesday, Feb. 6, before Judge Ralph Erickson as part of an agreement that will see two other drug charges against him dropped.

The charge carries a minimum mandatory sentence of 20 years, with a maximum of life, as well as a fine of up to $1 million. The family of the man who died may also make claims for medical and funeral expenses in the case, Erickson said. Sentencing was set for May 14.

Washington is accused of selling a half gram of heroin laced with the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl on March 12, 2016, to a woman who shared the drugs with Lucas Anderson, a Concordia College student who lived with his parents in south Fargo.

Later that day, Anderson was found dead at the home. In a search, investigators found a pen tube with traces of fentanyl. They also discovered text messages on Anderson's phone that led to the woman who had arranged to buy heroin from Washington to split with Anderson, according to court documents and prosecutor Brett Shasky.

Washington was arrested, along with three other people at the Residence Inn, 4335 23rd Ave. S. in Fargo, on March 13, 2016. Of the other people arrested with Washington that day:

• The federal case against Jerrell Deon Washington, who was indicted on the same charges as Marcel Washington, is on hold for now. A trial had been set for Jerrell Washington in December 2017, but it was cancelled and a warrant for his arrest was issued.

• A heroin possession with intent to distribute charge was dismissed in Cass County District Court against Heather Rouzier.

• State drug charges against Reginald Washington were dropped. He had earlier pleaded guilty in a Twin Cities federal court case to being part of a conspiracy that used false identities to traffic cellphones overseas. He had been awaiting sentencing when he was arrested in Fargo.

Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including education, Fargo city government, business and military affairs. He is currently The Forum's K-12 education reporter.

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