Selling heroin to an undercover cop got West Palm Beach’s Travis Preston convicted. Selling heroin mixed with fentanyl to someone who suffered a fatal overdose got Preston some extra federal prison time on Monday.
Preston, 37, was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison after being convicted of five counts of distributing heroin.
He had no prior offenses other than driving offenses, but his sentence was augmented when prosecutors asked the court to give Preston more time for his role in the death of a man court documents refer to as “S.M.” The government argued a 24-year-old from New Jersey overdosed on heroin laced with fentanyl he bought from Preston.
Prosecutors wanted to pin 20 to 30 other overdose deaths on Preston at sentencing, presenting video in which Preston estimates that many customers have died from overdosing on his product. They failed to convince the court of that, sparing Preston a sentence of 17 1/2 to 22 1/2 years.
Preston had a problem with cars. His driving violations got his license suspended, which led to him being cited for driving without a license. He also drove cars that weren’t registered. And, as described in the criminal complaint, it was in a car’s front seat that he tutored a customer in mixing heroin with a cutting agent to maximize resale profits.
Had that August tutorial not been in an unmarked police car and the customer not been an undercover West Palm Beach cop who was also part of a DEA Task Force, Preston might not be in prison today — or for the next several years.