CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WRIC) — A Ruckersville man who authorities say sold heroin, methamphetamine and fentanyl while in jail pled guilty in federal court to drug charges related to an overdose death linked to fentanyl.

According to the United States Department of Justice, 41-year-old Michael Watkins Hayer pleaded guilty to distribution of fentanyl and possession of a firearm as a convicted felon on Friday, Oct. 14.

Hayer began selling fentanyl, as well as heroin and methamphetamine in Greene County and Albemarle County in 2019, going to North Carolina to buy the substances in bulk before returning to the Charlottesville area to distribute them, according to court documents.

Hayer began carrying Narcan, which is used to treat opiate overdoses after a customer overdosed in front of him. On February 18, 2022, He sold 25 doses of fentanyl to someone who eventually died of an overdose after taking some.

After the death of his customer, Hayer left Greene County in order to avoid police. In April, he returned and was pulled over for speeding by state troopers who found 95 grams of methamphetamine, 50 grams of fentanyl, three firearms and several rounds of ammunition. Hayer, who had already spent time incarcerated from a previous conviction, is prohibited from owning guns.

From April to June of 2022, Hayer was incarcerated at Central Virginia Regional Jail in Orange and, with the help of two others, continued to sell drugs during that time. He told the two accomplices where in North Carolina to meet his suppliers and where and to whom to sell the drugs in Greene County.

“Fentanyl is everywhere.  Simply put, it is the single deadliest drug threat our nation has ever encountered.  In Virginia, the number of people dying from drug overdoses is at a record high.   If we want to prevent fentanyl-related overdose deaths, we must take every opportunity to educate our communities about how dangerous it is,” said U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh. “Now more than ever, it is critical to hold accountable those who deal fatal doses thereby contributing to fentanyl’s staggering body count. I am grateful for the resolve of the Greene County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI, who sought to bring justice to those affected by this tragedy.”