Lopez pleads to charges in death
Former Juniata resident supplied fentanyl-laced heroin that killed city man
HOLLIDAYSBURG — A Brooklyn, N.Y., native and former Juniata resident will serve 12 to 30 years in prison for supplying the fentanyl-laced heroin that killed a 29-year-old Altoona man in 2017.
Alexsi S. Lopez, 38, rendered guilty pleas Monday in Blair County Court to drug-trafficking charges including drug delivery resulting in the death of Gregory Lynam. Lynam was found dead on March 28, 2017, in a second-floor bathroom. He had a needle in his left arm, and empty purple heroin packets were found on the floor beside his body.
“It was an appropriate sentence for him,” Assistant District Attorney Amanda Jacobson said in reference to the prison time.
The amount of time Lopez serves beyond his minimum 12-year sentence, Jacobson said, will be up to the state parole board.
Lynam’s mother, Michelle, offered her support for the negotiated plea and the recommended incarceration time.
“I’m relieved that deaths resulting from drug delivery are being taken seriously,” the mother said after the sentencing. “That’s not the case in every state.”
Lopez, who has been in Blair County Prison since he was arrested March 9, 2017, apologized to Lynam’s family.
“I’m going to be thinking about this for the rest of my life,” Lopez said.
Lopez also apologized to the family of his fiancee, Jessica N. Adams of Tyrone, who rendered guilty pleas to charges of criminal conspiracy, possession with intent to deliver, criminal use of a communications device and dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity. In exchange, Jacobson recommended and Blair County Judge Jackie Bernard imposed a two- to 10-year sentence.
Adams had more of an ancillary role in Lopez’s business, Jacobson told Judge Jackie Bernard who accepted the plea and imposed the sentence.
To calculate Lopez’s prison time, Bernard assigned eight- to 20-years incarceration on the charge of drug delivery resulting in death.
Then the judge added a two- to five-year sentence on a charge of possession with intent to deliver and a two- to five-year sentence for dealing in proceeds of an unlawful activity. Each is to be served consecutively.
Bernard also ordered Lopez to keep a photo of Lynam and his son, now 9 years old, in his jail cell or in his possession after release from jail. It’s to be a reminder, Bernard told Lopez, of the lifelong effect that Gregory Lynam’s death had on his family and his son.
Michelle Lynam said she and her husband, Mark, have lost their only son. Their daughter, she said, has lost her only brother. And Lynam’s son has lost his father.
Jacobson, with support from the family, used a laptop computer to present several family pictures before Bernard imposed sentence.
“That’s hard to watch,” the judge said to the defendants with Lopez nodding his head.
The mother acknowledged that her son was been treated for drug addiction and stopped using for about four years before his relapse. The family confronted him about a month before the night of the fatal overdose.
On that night, Gregory Lynam put his son to bed and left their house for what his mother thought was going to be a smoke break. She said she now knows he went to pick up what turned out to be a fatal dose of heroin.
Altoona police used Lynam’s cellphone to identify and charge Adam Culp of Altoona as the man who sold the fentanyl-laced heroin to Lynam. Further investigatory work led them to identify Culp’s supplier as Christopher Tremmel of Tyrone and Tremmel’s supplier as Lopez.
Lopez was living in Juniata when police, on March 3, 2017, pulled him over for traffic violations and found $33,000 inside the vehicle and its hidden compartment. Further investigation led police to 250 heroin packets in a motel room Lopez rented and $50,000 worth of heroin hidden in a record player at what police identified as Lopez’s stash house.
“Lopez is a professional heroin dealer,” First Assistant District Attorney Pete Weeks said.
Altoona police also filed criminal charges against Culp and Tremmel in connection with Lynam’s death, and they could have been called as witnesses if Lopez had opted for a jury trial. Their cases are pending.
Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.