Two men are on trial this week in one of the largest heroin and fentanyl cases in South Dakota history.
Maurice Cathey and Corrod Phillips, who are both from Chicago, are facing federal charges. They’re accused of not only dealing drugs, but also causing serious injury to others.
Prosecutors say Cathey and Phillips provided the heroin laced with fentanyl in several overdose cases… including the death of Angela Kennecke’s daughter. Authorities believe Phillips is the source of the drug that killed Emily.
Thursday in court a postal inspector testified that a K-9 picked up the scent of drugs in a package from the Chicago area that was on its way to a Sioux Falls address.
Inside the package, investigators found a Vaseline jar full of heroin, cocaine and meth.
The postal inspector testified in an undercover operation, they resealed the package and delivered it to an apartment building, where Cathey ultimately took possession of it.
Prosecutors also showed jurors the history of packages being delivered by express mail to Cathey’s known addresses in Sioux Falls.
As part of a plea deal, Jacob Lottman, who has pleaded guilty to federal drug charges, testified that he frequently got heroin from Cathey and resold much of it in Sioux Falls.
KELOLAND News previously reported on Lottman bringing heroin laced with fentanyl into the Minnehaha County Jail.
Lottman testified on the stand that he hid the drugs in a body cavity and passed a strip search and body scanner.
Lottman gave the drugs to two people in jail who overdosed and survived.
Late Thursday afternoon Shania Hofer testified that she bought heroin from Cathey numerous times, including twice the day before 22-year-old Layne Diaz of Watertown died. Hofer shared that heroin with Diaz, whom she testified had not used in seven months.
Hofer received the state’s first 20-year mandatory minimum prison sentence for distribution of heroin or fentanyl resulting in death or serious bodily injury in a different overdose case.