A man charged in connection with a dozen overdoses in Mount Sterling and Montgomery County waived a preliminary hearing Wednesday in federal court in Lexington.
The case of Robert Lee Shields will be heard by a federal grand jury for possible indictment sometime in the next month.
Shields, wearing an orange uniform from the Fayette County jail, appeared in court with his attorney, Pat Nash of Lexington. However, Shields, who appeared to be in his 20s or 30s and who had tattoos along both arms, was not listed Tuesday or Wednesday among the current inmates on the jail’s website.
In any case, U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert E. Wier granted Nash’s request to postpone a bond or detention hearing until a later date.
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Shields, nicknamed “Sosa,” was arrested last week in Cincinnati and is charged with conspiring to distribute the painkiller fentanyl, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court. It’s unclear whether other overdoses in Cincinnati or elsewhere could be linked to Shields.
Shields admitted to investigators that he had supplied fentanyl on multiple occasions to others in Mount Sterling, according to an affidavit filed by Jared Sullivan, an agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Shields is accused of supplying fentanyl to people in Mount Sterling, where a dozen overdoses were reported last week. Most of the victims were resuscitated, but a 37-year-old man died.
Two relatives of Shields sat in the courtroom gallery during Wednesday’s five-minute court proceeding. Nash declined to say how they were related to Shields.
Nor would Nash say whether Shields has a criminal record or previous drug charges.