A Ramona man was sentenced Wednesday to 20 years in federal prison for selling heroin that caused the overdose death of an acquaintance.
Maxwell Joseph Gaffney, 26, was convicted by a federal jury last year of distribution of heroin resulting in death, in connection with the Feb. 17, 2017, death of Kyle Rodriguez, 23.
Text messages between Gaffney and Rodriguez confirmed the drug sale that occurred the night before Rodriguez died, according to prosecutors, who said Gaffney continued selling heroin after learning of Rodriguez’s overdose death.
At Gaffney’s sentencing hearing, Rodriguez’s sister said her brother’s addiction began with painkillers after his foot was run over by an off-road vehicle, and progressed to heroin usage, though he was 10 months clean around the time of his death.
“My brother never wanted to grow up to be a heroin addict. We didn’t have a broken family. We had it all and it was just a series of unfortunate events that led him down that path,” Kendra Bodkins said. “But he was an amazing person, always willing to help anyone out. And he had a huge heart. This drug is constantly ruining lives and ripping families apart every single day. So I hope people can learn from our tragedy and think twice before they start using or even think about relapsing … or selling this drug.”
U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer called the case “a tragedy for two families.”
“One young man who had achieved 10 months of sobriety and was well on his way to a new life, has lost it. And today, with this sentence, another young man is spending a significant portion of his in prison, and their families are left with nothing but sorrow,” Brewer said.
“For this reason, we will do all that we can to save other families from this fate. We will continue to aggressively fight the grip that opioids have on our country by pursuing cases against those who distribute the drugs that are causing an overdose crisis in our community. No parent should have their child taken from them by this scourge.”
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