DENVER (AP) – Four people pleaded guilty and were sentenced for distributing the heroin that caused a Longmont man’s death three years ago.

U.S. Attorney John Walsh announced the sentences Thursday, saying the case should send a message to other heroin dealers that they can be criminally accountable for deadly overdoses.

The organization’s leader, Brice Alday, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute heroin. His three co-defendants’ sentences for the same offense range from five years in prison to five years of probation.

Prosecutors say all four admitted to roles in the March 2013 heroin death of 29-year-old Christopher Racine. Ten other people were charged on the state level with possession and or distribution of a controlled substance.

Authorities say such investigations will help confront the nation’s heroin epidemic.

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