What It Means if Prince Got Fentanyl Illegally

Authorities say the investigation is just beginning
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 3, 2016 6:17 AM CDT
What It Means if Prince Got Fentanyl Illegally
Prince appears at the American Music Awards.   (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP, File)

We now know that Prince died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl—an opioid up to 50 times more potent than heroin—which he administered himself. But the investigation into his death is really just beginning, reports the AP. Investigators still need to determine if the singer had a prescription for fentanyl or how he might have obtained it otherwise. Legal experts say this will be the focus of what a Drug Enforcement Administration rep in Minneapolis calls an ongoing and "thorough" investigation with Carver County authorities and the US Attorney's Office.

A person who supplies fentanyl illegally to someone who dies from it faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in jail under federal law and up to 25 years in prison under Minnesota law. The AP notes the investigation could include grand jury subpoenas for records or testimony. "The investigation may expand to people who surround him," adds an attorney not connected to Prince. "If fentanyl was obtained illegally, I don't think Prince would have gone out to meet someone in a dark alley to get the substance." A law enforcement official tells TMZ the investigation has been looking at "illicit" possession. (More Prince stories.)

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