A 29-year-old man was sentenced to spend 15 years behind bars after he was found guilty of supplying a batch of drugs to his best friend that contained fentanyl and led to his death by overdose.
Anthony Santino Rienzi, 29, was sentenced by a federal grand jury on Thursday, March 9, to 15 years in federal prison for murder caused by unlawful distribution of fentanyl for the January 2021 death of his best friend, Samuel Jacob Stone.
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, on January 14, 2021, Clermont Police Department officers and Lake County emergency medical technicians responded to an apartment in the 600 block of West Osceola Street after receiving calls in reference to a medical emergency.
Upon arrival, emergency personnel began administering life-saving efforts to Stone before he was transported to South Lake Emergency Room. The next day, January 15, 2021, Stone was pronounced deceased at the hospital.
A toxicology report later revealed that he died from “combined drug toxicity” caused by fentanyl and ethanol.
During the ensuing investigation, Stone’s girlfriend provided details to the police regarding the circumstances that led to his overdose.
According to the girlfriend, the couple had been out in downtown Orlando earlier in the evening. Upon leaving downtown Orlando to return to their apartment in Clermont, Stone stated that he wanted drugs and contacted Rienzi.
A short time thereafter, Rienzi and his girlfriend met Stone and his girlfriend at their apartment. While in the apartment, Rienzi and Stone entered the bathroom. Minutes later, Rienzi exited the bathroom and told the women that Stone had passed out and was not responding.
In the ensuing investigation, police determined that Rienzi supplied Stone with a blue pill, later identified as Alprazolam, and a white powder that was later identified as fentanyl.
The pill bottle found at the scene of the overdose contained Rienzi’s name on it, and, during interviews, Stone’s girlfriend provided police with a recorded conversation between Rienzi and another individual suspected of supplying him drugs.
During that conversation, Rienzi is heard saying “my best friend is dead off of your product.” The voice on the other end replies, “I don’t deal with your best friend,” before Rienzi states “they know I gave it to him.”