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Newport Beach Nightclub Security Manager Not Guilty of Fentanyl Murder
A former Newport Beach bar security manager was acquitted of distributing fentanyl that killed a man in 2012 but convicted of peddling other drugs. Sean Robert McLaughlin was acquitted of distributing furanyl fentanyl that caused death and harm. A day was spent deliberating.
McLaughlin was convicted of cocaine distribution and four drug possession offenses. McLaughlin’s counsel claimed he faced 20 years to life in prison for distributing fentanyl that caused death. Prosecutors accused McLaughlin of selling Ahmed Said, 25, a fatal quantity of fentanyl on Nov. 18, 2016.
Chambers remarked after the verdict, “We were convinced he wasn’t responsible.” “I hope they find out who gave Mr. Said medication. His family needs closure. He got drugs.”
Chambers said a “mystery man” at the pub provided the victims with narcotics. Lack of fentanyl in the bar and McLaughlin’s home hindered his client’s dealer claim. Chambers said he was “disappointed” his client was convicted but praised the jury’s “hard work” Chambers stated McLaughlin was “vindicated on the fentanyl OD”. Chambers: “Sean has a huge heart.” “He never thought he killed.”
Chambers hopes U.S. District Judge David O. Carter considers McLaughlin’s wheelchair while sentencing him on April 3. Chambers: “We must help him regain his footing.”
Chambers said McLaughlin, a recovering addict, has helped many other addicts over the years. He expects many of them to write to Carter demanding mercy. In closing arguments, Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Rabbani said that while there was a “mystery man” at the pub that night, two survivors testified that McLaughlin sold them fentanyl.
Rabbani said Said and two other overdose victims had the “designed drug.” She said, “They said who gave them pills.”
The prosecutor stated McLaughlin was an “amateur” narcotics dealer who googled how to “chop cocaine” Rabbani: “He was selling cocaine, searching Google and viewing videos on how to cut it.” “Watching a video on how to cut cocaine is pointless unless you’re a drug dealer,” Rabbani said that McLaughlin removed communications from his phone and wiped an iPad.
Another man overdosed that night, although he wasn’t charged. Rabbani alleged the “haircut person” sold him drugs. Rabbani said that fentanyl wasn’t found in the bar or defendant’s home because he had time to dump it. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bradley Marrett said Sean Robert McLaughlin worked at American Junkie in Newport Beach in November 2016. He was the bar’s security chief and drug dealer. Read more: Sandeep Dhaliwal’s Killer, an Indian-American Sikh Police Officer, Was Given the Death Penalty
Marrett alleged McLaughlin maintained his “stash” at a Newport Boulevard tavern. Newport Beach police found “a pharmacy of pharmaceuticals” in McLaughlin’s locker after the overdoses, Marrett said. The prosecution said “baggies of cocaine” were ready for consumers. The prosecutor said he searched for little glass vials “filled with cocaine” found in his locker.
Marrett said they found text messages from McLaughlin’s fans. A patron allegedly texted McLaughlin, “need a bag,” and he replied, “bathroom.” Marrett alleged the bar’s toilet lacked surveillance cameras. The prosecutor said that was the defendant’s favorite drug distribution location. Read more: 40 Days After Mahsa Amini’s Death, Crowds Clash at Her Tomb
Mahtab Massoodnia told investigators she got a cocaine-filled envelope from McLaughlin on Sept. 18, 2016, Marrett said. The prosecutor showed jurors American Junkie surveillance video of overdose victims. The footage included audio of a 911 call in which a dispatcher tried to teach security personnel CPR as paramedics arrived.
Joshua Selley and Daron Muratyan overdosed, but Naloxone revived them, Marrett said. Francisco Alvarado overdosed at the pub, but not from McLaughlin’s narcotics, the prosecutor said. Read more:UP: A Man Records His Wife Attempting Suicide but Doesn’t Intervene. She Later Dies
Marrett: “This is a second job… with tragic repercussions.” Chambers said surveillance video shows the “mystery man” with four overdose victims in the bathroom. Chambers saw the unknown suspect at the men’s tables. When the victims leave the bathroom, the “mystery man” returns to their table to continue partying, according to the defense attorney.
Chambers said Alvarado was partying with another group. “Who slinks out? Chambers agreed.
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