Atlanta: DeAngelo Copeland Sentenced for Distributing Heroin

Atlanta drug trafficker, DeAngelo Copeland sentenced for distributing heroin that killed college student

(STL.News) DeAngelo Copeland has been sentenced for selling heroin and admitting that his act of distribution resulted in the overdose death of a college student in April 2018.

“Copeland’s heroin distribution led to yet another drug overdose death in our community,” said U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine. “Opioid overdoses will be investigated and prosecuted as a federal priority and those who sell this poison will be held accountable for the death and suffering that it causes.”

“HIDTA’s commingled drug task forces are committed to the disruption and dismantlement of organizations determined to make a profit on the backs of addiction.  This loss of life and the more than 100,000 that died in 2021 from a drug overdose, fuels our drive to make our communities safer.  This successful investigation by Agents, Task Force Officers and the US Attorney’s office is the result of cooperative law enforcement,” said Dan R. Salter, Executive Director, Atlanta-Carolinas HIDTA.

“The sentencing of Copeland proves that the justice system is committed to holding drug traffickers accountable for their crimes,” said Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant.  “Additionally, the sentencing sends a message to drug traffickers that the illegal sale of drugs will not be tolerated in Atlanta.”

According to U.S. Attorney Erskine, the charges and other information presented in court: On April 10, 2018, officers with the Atlanta Police Department responded to a 911 call seeking medical attention for a 22-year-old college student, who died of a heroin overdose that night.  The investigation revealed that the college student ordered the heroin from Copeland in a series of text messages earlier that afternoon.

That evening, Copeland delivered the heroin outside the apartment where the college student was staying. The college student subsequently used the heroin Copeland sold, causing his death. Investigators identified Copeland as the heroin seller by arranging undercover drug purchases with the same phone number Copeland used on April 10, 2018.

Copeland sold drugs to the undercover officer on multiple occasions inside his car.  Copeland, who has a history of drug trafficking offenses, admitted to trafficking in heroin and acknowledged that the heroin he sold caused the victim’s death.

DeAngelo Copeland, a/k/a Lo, 37, of Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Mark H. Cohen to 15 years, eight months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release after pleading guilty to the charge of distributing heroin on September 9, 2021.

This case was investigated by the Atlanta-Carolinas High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, with valuable assistance by the Atlanta Police Department.

High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program, created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, provides assistance to Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas Hartigan and Calvin A. Leipold, III prosecuted the case.