National News

15-year prison term handed to ND man linked to fentanyl overdose death

Posted August 1

— A Park River, N.D., man who pleaded guilty to selling fentanyl tied to a fatal overdose last August was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison Monday.

Zachary David Chyle, 26, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Erickson on one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and two counts distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death.

Chyle admitted to selling furanyl fentanyl, a powerful opioid known to be up to 50 times more potent than heroin, to Eugene D. Mecham, court records show. Mecham died of an overdose on Aug. 26, 2016, in the basement of his parents' home in Grafton, N.D. He was 30. An autopsy showed Mecham's death was caused by fentanyl intoxication.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said its investigation found Chyle had ordered the drugs from the Dark Net, a term used to describe online networks often used to sell black market goods.

Chyle was arrested in October 2016 by the Walsh County Sheriff's Office after a drug overdose of his own.

Deputies responded Aug. 23, 2016, to a Park River home, where Chyle's father, Jim Chyle, told deputies he and his wife found his son "unconscious and barely breathing with a needle in his arm," according to court documents. Jim Chyle told officers he administered Narcan to Zachary Chyle twice, with court documents explaining Jim Chyle had purchased the overdose antidote because of his son's drug use.

Zachary Chyle was taken to Unity Medical Center in Grafton for treatment instead of going to jail. He was arrested in early October 2016.

Chyle has a criminal history involving drugs, theft and burglary, according to court records. He was on probation for a 2013 burglary charge at the time of his arrest.

The probation allowed investigators to search Chyle's belongings, and officers found 38 syringes, 88 baggies and four brown 100-milligram vials investigators believe contained fentanyl.

Chlye will be on five years of supervised release following his time in prison. He faced a possible life sentence before entering into a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in February.

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