Seminole Hard Rock Casino Drug Death May Lead to 20-Year Sentence

Posted on: February 26, 2022, 01:32h. 

Last updated on: February 26, 2022, 01:32h.

A 35-year-old man has pleaded guilty to distributing a heroin and fentanyl mix at Florida’s Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino parking complex. One person who shot himself up with the drugs died in the November 2019 incident, prosecutors said.

The deceased victim was not identified
Florida’s Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, pictured above. The casino was the scene of a fatal drug overdose, which led to the arrest of a man who later pled guilty to a federal charge. (Image: Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino)

The defendant, Nicholas Primo, initially fled from the Hollywood, Fla. casino after he realized the man had died, prosecutors add. Later, Primo allegedly tried to move the victim’s car out of casino garage with an unnamed friend.

Primo recently plead guilty to possession and distribution of a controlled substance in the case. When he is sentenced, Primo could be ordered to spend as much as 20 years in federal prison, according to Middle District Florida US Attorney Roger B. Handberg. A judge has yet to set a date for sentencing.

The deceased victim was not identified. Primo also allegedly distributed narcotics to a second unidentified person at the Hard Rock, too.

Primo had confessed he bought $1,600 worth of heroin before distributing it, Handberg said.

Upon discovering the deceased victim, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office took over the investigation. It was prosecuted as part of the federal Middle District of Florida’s anti-opioid trafficking and abuse initiative.

Previously, in 2016 Primo was sentenced in Florida to three years in prison for drug charges including trafficking in methamphetamines, the Tampa Bay Times reported, citing court records. Earlier, Primo was an energy consultant. He has lived in both Rhode Island and Florida.

Prior Fentanyl Case at Casino

In an unrelated incident, Ledra A. Craig, 43, of Wright City, Mo., in 2020 was charged with distribution of fentanyl in the St. Charles, Mo. Ameristar Casino. The drugs may have led to one man’s death. It is not immediately known what happened to the case against Craig.

Authorities launched an investigation  after a vehicle rolled into a yard and two men were found unconscious in the car. One man was revived. The other died.

The two purchased what they thought was cocaine in the casino, police said. The drug deal was videotaped on casino surveillance cameras.

Later, an undercover police officer purchased $400 worth of suspected fentanyl from Craig. Craig also had prior illegal drug convictions.

Fentanyl Explained

Fentanyl has become noteworthy for a playing a major role in the US opioid epidemic. The drug is similar to morphine, but “is 50 to 100 times more potent,” the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported. It can be prescribed by doctors to treat serious pain.

“It is typically used to treat patients with severe pain or to manage pain after surgery,” the NIDA explained.

A second federal conviction for distributing fentanyl will lead to a life sentence in prison. The first federal conviction likely leads to a 20-year sentence.