KANSAS CITY, Kan., Aug. 17 (UPI) -- A Kansas drug trafficker has been sentenced to life plus 10 years in prison for selling heroin so pure it caused many users to overdose, killing some of them.
Verdale Handy, who operated out of Kansas City, Kansas, appeared before a federal judge Tuesday, The Kansas City (Mo.) Star reported. He had been convicted of a long list of drug charges and with trying to kill a witness.
Prosecutors said Handy, 40, headed an organization that sold heroin in many Kansas communities. In Overland Park, the group used a fast-food restaurant as a base, investigators said, and in other towns the organization owned houses where other dealers were charged a fee to deal drugs.
Johnson County in the Kansas City suburbs reported 19 drug overdose deaths among young people from 2007 to 2009. At the time, officials say, many drug abusers were switching to heroin because it was cheaper than prescription drugs.