Akron drug dealer gets 16 years for selling fentanyl that killed truck driver

Steven DanielsSummit County Sheriff’s Office

CLEVELAND, Ohio — An Akron drug dealer who sold fentanyl to a truck driver who overdosed and died in 2016 was sentenced Thursday to 16 years in federal prison. Steven Daniels, 32, sold the drug to Timothy Barnett, who died on April 2, 2016, authorities said. The 41-year-old’s body was found six days later in the cab of a semi-truck, needle in hand.

Daniels, a cocaine dealer who said he had fentanyl mailed to him from China, was arrested by Akron police last year[1] and pleaded guilty in April to distribution of fentanyl. The charge carries a “death specification,” which mandates a minimum 20-year prison sentence, but a deal Daniels reached with prosecutors ensured he would not serve that much time. U.S.

District Judge Donald Nugent also recommended Daniels for the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Residential Drug Abuse Program. Daniels is a marijuana user with a history of drug abuse. The program is for inmates convicted of nonviolent offenses, and those who successfully complete it can have their sentences reduced by up to one year.

Daniels has previous convictions for dealing drugs, committing fraud and assault. He apologized for his actions, and said he has tried to make amends since. “I hope I didn’t hurt nobody else,” Daniels said.

Nugent questioned Daniels on what he had learned from his previous drug trafficking conviction. Daniels said he learned that selling crack cocaine was wrong but that he kept doing it, in part to feed his mother’s drug habit. He said he first ordered fentanyl in January 2016 after his cousin showed him he could order it on the Internet.

He said his cousin told him it was legal and that he never found any information online that contradicted that assertion. Before being sentenced, J. Reid Yoder, Daniels’ attorney, described his client’s horrific upbringing, which included sexual and emotional abuse and a mother with a drug addiction that he started selling crack cocaine to feed.

Yoder said a man Daniels stayed with while his mother was in prison forced him at age 8 to smoke crack cocaine and drink alcohol so he would stop crying. Yoder said Daniels has done relatively well for himself in light of his childhood. He said Daniels sold drugs to support his family, as he worked as a cook for minimum wage, and that Barnett was a friend.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Henry DiBaggis questioned whether Daniels was really struggling for money, as a search warrant at Daniels’ home in 2016 turned up more than £3,400 in cash, as well as more than 11 ounces of fentanyl, a box of needles, cocaine and bullets. DiBaggis said Daniels had dyed his fentanyl pink as to distinguish it from the cocaine he continued to sell.

If you would like to comment on this story, please visit Thursday’s crime and courts comments section[2].


  1. ^ was arrested by Akron police last year (www.cleveland.com)
  2. ^ Thursday’s crime and courts comments section (www.cleveland.com)

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1 Response

  1. RT @truckerworld: Akron drug dealer gets 16 years for selling fentanyl that killed truck driver https://t.co/4dmzmo80eh #road #freight #car…

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