A Faribault man who pleaded guilty last year to selling heroin to drug task force agents and unsuccessfully tried to retract the plea was sentenced last week to more than six and a half years in prison.
Anthoney Michael Fugalli, 28, was charged with first-degree heroin sales in June 2018 following the death of Jason Madow, also of Faribault. Fugalli’s 78-month sentence will be reduced by 456 days, credit for time served in the Rice County Jail.
Third-degree murder charges against Fugalli for his role in Madow’s death are pending. Following his arrest, Fugalli reportedly admitted to selling fentanyl-lace heroin to Madow, and told investigators he warned his customers that the drugs were extremely potent and could lead to their death. Like heroin, fentanyl is an opioid, but about 50 times stronger.
Fugalli was also facing one count each of second-degree heroin sale and possession, but those charges were dismissed in exchange for the guilty plea in the first-degree heroin sale case.
This spring, Fugalli’s attorney tried to have the guilty plea withdrawn, arguing that a prior attorney failed to advise Fugalli that once a plea deal was approved by the district court he could no longer argue for a lesser sentence. In June, the court denied Fugalli’s request to take back his plea.
When guilty pleas are made, the presiding judge asks defendants a series of questions to ensure the defendant understands what they’re doing and are doing so voluntarily.
Rice County Attorney John Fossum expects that Fugalli’s murder trial will be set for sometime after the first of the year.
If convicted, Fugalli could be sentenced to up to 132 months, though a plea deal is still possible. Fossum said the length of a sentence will also depend on whether the sentences run consecutively or concurrently. If the court decides the sentences will be consecutive, Fugalli could receive another 74 to 103 months in prison. If they run concurrently, Fossum expects he could receive an additional 16 to 24 months.
If the case goes to trial, Fossum says he’ll argue for a consecutive sentence based on Fugalli’s admission that he knew the heroin he sold Madow was potentially deadly and that he warned people of its potency.
“If he knew it was that dangerous, then he knew what he was doing,” said Fossum.