Ex-Northern Va. man sentenced to 20 years in prison for heroin-related death

A Florida man who once lived in Northern Virginia has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for selling the heroin that led to another man’s death by overdose.

John Jacob Stapleton, 33, of Fort Pierce, Florida, received his sentence Wednesday for his role in distributing the heroin that killed a Leesburg man — identified in court documents as “E.L.” — in March 2016.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a toxicology report found E.L. had died of heroin poisoning, and an investigation conducted by local law enforcement connected that heroin to another sample on a person who had obtained it directly from Stapleton.

Stapleton pleaded guilty to the charges in January 2020. He admitted that he and others worked together to distribute heroin in Loudoun County, Virginia, and the greater D.C. region.

A sentence of 20 years was the mandatory minimum for the charges Stapleton faced.

Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

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