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Toledo man indicted for providing heroin that killed two women

A Toledo man who allegedly provided heroin that killed two Toledo women last year was indicted this week by a federal grand jury.

Harold Sasse, 41, was indicted for possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance resulting in death.

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Sasse

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Federal prosecutors allege Mr. Sasse distributed heroin to Erin McClain, 30, and Tiffany Woods, 23, on March 29, 2017. At some point during that day or the following day, both women ingested the heroin at Mr. Sasse's Starr Avenue apartment and died.

The Lucas County Coroner's Office concluded both women died from combined drug toxicity from heroin and cocaine.

The indictment implicates Mr. Sasse only in the death of Ms. McClain, which Mike Tobin, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, said is likely due to the case’s chemistry.

“It's a matter of toxicology and what we can prove,” Mr. Tobin said. “It's the chemistry of it, how the drugs are metabolized, and how we can meet the burden of proof.”

In an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court, FBI agent Matthew R. Meyer said Toledo police were called March 30, 2017 to Mr. Sasse's apartment in the 800 block of Starr Avenue where they found the two women’s bodies.

Mr. Sasse, the affidavit states, told police he had done drugs with the victims prior to their overdoses. In the morning, he said he heard Ms. Woods making gurgling noises but went back to sleep. When he awoke again about 11 a.m., he said, he went to the store for cigarettes and drinks, and upon returning found them dead and called 911.

“Every death represents someone's son or daughter, friend, or neighbor,” U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman said in a news release. “We will seek prison sentences for those who profit off this epidemic while working to prevent future tragedies and getting help for those who want treatment.”

Mr. Sasse told investigators he was a daily heroin user. Following his March 7 arrest, U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge James Knepp released Mr. Sasse from jail March 16 “for the sole purpose of inpatient treatment” followed by placement in a halfway house. The judge ordered that if Mr. Sasse failed to complete treatment or if a halfway house was unavailable, Mr. Sasse would be remanded into custody and brought back to court for a further detention hearing.

If convicted of the charge at trial, Mr. Sasse faces a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 20 years. Mr. Tobin said defendants charged in overdose deaths who enter guilty pleas have received an average of 13 years in federal prison.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.

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