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Man who sold deadly drugs to Grand Forks woman gets 25 years in federal prison

Anthony Tozer

FARGO — An East Grand Forks, Minn., man will spend 25 years in a federal prison for selling fentanyl-laced drugs that killed a Grand Forks woman in 2017.

U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier sentenced Anthony John Tozer, 33, on Tuesday, Jan. 8, in Fargo to 300 months behind bars after pleading guilty to a controlled substance crime that resulted in the death of Faith Burns, a 20-year-old woman who died Dec. 17, 2017, after ingesting heroin that was laced with fentanyl, according to court documents.

Federal court documents give few details on the incident, but a criminal complaint filed in December 2017 in Grand Forks District Court laid out how Burns traveled with an acquaintance to the Fairfield Inn in Grand Forks to pick up what she thought was heroin. She used the drugs in an apartment at 901 University Ave., overdosed and died, the complaint said.

Tozer faced a Class B felony of delivering fentanyl after the Grand Forks County Attorney’s Office pursued charges, but the case was dropped last year after local prosecutors learned the U.S. Attorney’s Office in North Dakota would file its own criminal case.

Schreier could have given Tozer life in prison, but he signed a plea agreement that called for a lesser sentence.

The defendant has “expressed great remorse” for Burns’ death, his attorney, Lynn Slaathaug Moen of Mayville, N.D., said in a memorandum to the court. The criminal case was the result of his struggle with drug addiction, and Tozer needs treatment, Moen wrote.

“Anthony knows that he was wrong in this case,” the memo said. “He knows that his involvement with negative people and his addictions have ultimately led him to this situation.”

Tozer has faced multiple criminal cases in North Dakota that included drug charges.

Federal sentencing guidelines called for a minimum prison term of 20 years.

Federal court documents indicate Tozer acted with others in a conspiracy to possess and distribute the drugs, but prosecutors did not name other defendants for the case in Tozer’s criminal complaints, nor did they expand upon Tozer’s role in the drug dealings.