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Fatal heroin overdose led to seller's capture

A Colorado man whose heroin may have contributed to a woman's fatal overdose will serve five years in federal prison for his role in conspiring to distribute more than a pound of heroin in Oregon.

Robert Eugene Juencke, 64, of Fountain, Colo., was sentenced to prison Thursday in U.S. District Court in Medford. Juencke had pleaded guilty in April to a felony charge of conspiracy to distribute heroin, admitting he was involved in the distribution of 550 grams of the drug, approximately 1.2 pounds, to an Oregon dealer between October 2012 and October 2013.

Juencke admitted he sold heroin to his customer in amounts larger than what could be used personally — more typically used to distribute the drug. The largest single amount Juencke sold to the dealer was 375 grams, about 13.2 ounces. Juencke's last transaction to the dealer was for 175 grams, more than 6 ounces.

Magistrate Judge Mark Clarke followed prosecutors' recommendation of 60 months in prison and four years' supervised release, according to assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Ehlers. Prosecutors, however, had considered more severe charges against Juencke because heroin sourced to Juencke was tied to a woman's death by overdose, a document filed by prosecutors says. It is unknown where the victim lived.

Prosecutors decided against more severe charges because the victim's toxicology made it unclear whether she overdosed on heroin sourced through Juencke or morphine sulfate, also found in her apartment. The morphine was photographed, but was not collected into evidence, a court document says.

The dealer who sold Juencke's heroin to the victim served a 32-month Circuit Court sentence, a court document says.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.

Robery Juencke