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Hagerstown man sentenced in drug death

Luis Reyes-Torres given 115 months in prison in overdose death of Brandon Sgaggero

April 29, 2011

BALTIMORE — A Hagerstown man convicted of supplying drugs that killed another local man was sentenced in federal court Friday to nearly 10 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Benson Everett Legg sentenced Luis Reyes-Torres, 26, to 115 months in prison, according to a U.S. Attorney's Office news release.

Reyes-Torres pleaded guilty to distributing and conspiring to distribute morphine and methadone, leading to the overdose death of Brandon Sgaggero, the release said.

Reyes-Torres, as a nursing home employee, stole methadone, morphine and other medications in February 2008 and provided them to April Lynn Baker, the release said.

Baker distributed the methadone and morphine to Ryan Andrew Hartley in exchange for marijuana, the release said.

On March 1, 2008, Hartley sold a 40-milligram wafer of methadone to Sgaggero for about $40 and 20 milliliters of morphine for about $20, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Sgaggero was found dead in his apartment on March 6; an autopsy revealed that he died of an overdose of methadone and morphine, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

That same day, Hartley sent two text messages to Sgaggero's phone, asking if he wanted more "shampoo," a code word for morphine, the release said.

According to Sgaggero's obituary, he was 29 when he died. He had lived in Funkstown and Boonsboro.

He graduated from Boonsboro High School in 1996 and was a member of the Optimist Club and the lacrosse team. He was in the U.S. Army for eight years, his obituary said.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said Baker and Hartley pleaded guilty to their participation in a drug conspiracy and are scheduled to be sentenced on June 20 and July 7, respectively.

This is the third federal case prosecuted in Maryland recently in which the distribution of drugs led to the death of a user, the release said.

On Dec. 20, 2010, Mark Alan Bryan of Maugansville was sentenced to 14 years in prison in connection with the 2008 death of 20-year-old Curt Bannon of Boonsboro, who died of heroin intoxication.

In a separate case, Robert Carroll Eichelberger of Hagerstown and Kathleen Ann Harris of Olney, Md. — both former Boonsboro residents — were sentenced in December 2008 to 20 years and 13 years in prison, respectively, in connection with the death of Harry Angle III, 17, of Boonsboro.

Eichelberger and Harris had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.

Angle's parents have said a mixture of methadone and alcohol killed their son in 2007.

They tried unsuccessfully to pass a bill making it a felony in Maryland for an adult to provide drugs to a minor if the minor dies after using the drugs.

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— Andrew Schotz

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