Fri. 11:55 a.m.: Warren man sentenced to 60 years in drug overdose death

WARREN – A Warren man who sold heroin that resulted in the overdose death of a woman will serve 60 years in prison, a federal judge ordered this morning.

A jury earlier had found John G. Simer II, 40, guilty of all 13 counts he faced, including distribution of heroin that resulted in death; possession with intent to distribute heroin; possession with intent to distribute cocaine; being a felon in possession of firearms; using firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking and being a felon in possession of body armor.

“This defendant was a one-man crime wave,” U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said. “He sold heroin that killed a young mother and was found to have carfentanil, fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, firearms, ammunition and body armor. Our community is safer with him locked up for decades.”

U.S. District Court Judge Christopher Boyko sentenced Simer to 55 years in prison, plus five years for having a firearm in relation to drug trafficking.

Simer sold heroin on March 20, 2017. A Warren woman ingested the heroin and fatally overdosed, according to court documents and trial testimony.

Simer possessed heroin and cocaine on April 19, 2017, when police searched his residence. He also possessed a Smith & Wesson .40-caliber pistol, 58 rounds of ammunition and body armor on that day, despite previous convictions for aggravated robbery and firearms offenses that made it illegal for him to have a firearm or body armor, according to court documents and trial testimony, according to information released from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cleveland.

“I hope this case serves as a cautionary tale to anyone who thinks their criminal liability ends after they have sold their drugs,” said Warren police Chief Eric Merkel.

Merkel credited the city’s Street Crimes Unit and Detective Melanie Gambill for their work on the case, and said the local department will continue its investigative efforts in overdose deaths, bringing those responsible to justice.