Couple who sold fentanyl-laced drugs in UNC student’s overdose sentenced to prison

A Durham couple who made a living selling cocaine to college students were sentenced for their role in a deadly drug conspiracy that led to the overdose deaths of a college student and a Raleigh resident.

Cye Leance Frasier, 44, was sentenced to 29 years in prison on Thursday and Carlisa Renea Allen, 46, was sentenced to 28 years in prison earlier this month, U.S. Attorney Sandra J. Hairston of the Middle District of North Carolina announced Thursday.

The defendants took part in an 18-month-long drug scheme that involved trafficking cocaine and fentanyl, resulting in the death of 23-year-old Joshua Skip Zinner in Raleigh on March 10 last year.

Evidence showed that the couple’s drug trafficking contributed to the death of 19-year-old Grace Burton, a UNC student who died on Duke University’s campus a day before Zinner.

Frasier, known colloquially as “The Barber”, and his partner Allen were previously charged last year in the drug trafficking conspiracy that killed Zinner and Burton.

The news of Burton’s death was first reported on October last year in The Assembly by a Duke student journalist.

The News & Observer reported that it stemmed from a DEA investigation in partnership with the Duke University Police Department, according to federal court documents.

Frasier pleaded guilty on Oct. 25 to conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine hydrochloride and conspiracy to distribute a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of fentanyl, resulting in death.

Allen was found guilty on Nov. 17 of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and fentanyl resulting in death, distribution of cocaine hydrochloride, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

“The heinous and inhumane actions of these defendants led to the senseless loss of two young lives,” Hairston said in a news release. “While nothing will ever erase the pain of the families who suffered these tremendous losses, the sentences send a strong message of deterrence to people who consider selling poisonous mixtures of illegal drugs. We also hope this prosecution helps prevent future tragedies by raising public awareness of the serious risk users face when consuming illegal substances, which increasingly contain potentially lethal amounts of fentanyl and other dangerous drugs.”

Evidence presented at trial against Frasier and Allen included text messages, CashApp and Venmo transactions and more that indicated how they marketed themselves to local college students as a source of drugs, primarily cocaine and at times, fentanyl.

The family members of Zinner and Burton were present at Frasier’s sentencing, according to the court.

“Dangerous drug traffickers are enriching their lives by profiting off someone else’s pain,” said Robert J. Murphy, a DEA Special Agent in Charge, in a news release. “The number of lives forever changed as a result of this greed are far too numerous to count.”

After their imprisonments, Frasier and Allen will be subject to supervised release for five years and both are ordered to pay restitution to the Zinner and Burton families in the amount of $8,000 dollars and $11,304, respectively.