Feds: Roswell drug dealer, supplier sold fake pills that caused overdose death

Both men received lengthy federal prison sentences

A Roswell drug dealer and his Atlanta-based supplier have each been sentenced to more than a decade in prison after pleading guilty to selling counterfeit painkillers laced with fentanyl that left one person dead and sent another to the hospital, federal officials said.

Roswell police began investigating 33-year-old Hubert Nathans in 2017 after receiving multiple reports that he was distributing opioids that had led to overdoses, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia Ryan Buchanan said. Investigators were able to determine that Nathans was selling counterfeit versions of Roxicodone pills, one of the brand names under which oxycodone is distributed.

Those pills were found to be laced with fentanyl, Buchanan said. Investigators were able to trace them and identify Nathans’ supplier, 29-year-old Edward Culton, who lived in a high-rise in Buckhead.

Nathans sold some of those pills to a 24-year-old who died from an overdose in late 2017, Buchanan said. Despite knowing about his customer’s death, Nathans sold the same pills to a 30-year-old woman who had to be hospitalized when she also overdosed.

Nathans and Culton were both arrested in early 2018, Buchanan said. Agents found nearly 1,000 pills containing fentanyl when they searched Culton’s apartment.

Nathans pleaded guilty to federal drug charges related to the overdose death in August 2018 and was sentenced to 12 years in prison, Buchanan said. Culbert pleaded guilty to similar charges and was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

The sentences are examples of the serious penalties that a Hall County teenager recently arrested on similar charges could face. Brandon Jared Soto, 18, was arrested by Hall sheriff’s deputies last week and accused of supplying fentanyl to his coworker several months ago, allegedly causing her overdose death.

“As the opioid epidemic continues to rage nationwide, these significant sentences should make clear that opioid suppliers and dealers will be held accountable for the devastation they wreak in our communities,” Buchanan said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office pointed out that more than 100,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2021, “many of which were caused by fentanyl,” according to DEA spokesman Special Agent Robert Murphy.

“Each and every pill distributed by Nathans and Culton in our community represented the potential for another life lost,” Roswell police Chief James Conroy said.