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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Wisconsin
For Immediate Release
Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney
Thursday, January 19, 2023

Madison Man Receives 6-Year Prison Term for Distributing Heroin & Fentanyl and Possessing Firearms in Furtherance of Drug Trafficking

MADISON, WIS. – Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Michael S. Murphy, 48, Madison, Wisconsin, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson to 6 years for distributing heroin and fentanyl and possessing firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking. Murphy pleaded guilty to these offenses on October 11, 2022.

In October and November of 2021, law enforcement conducted several controlled buys of heroin using an undercover officer. Through surveillance, law enforcement determined that Murphy was the supplier for the dealer involved in these buys. Based on this information, law enforcement obtained a search warrant for Murphy’s home. There, they found over 100 grams of heroin laced with fentanyl, over 20 grams of cocaine, and a quantity of crack cocaine. They also found a 9 mm handgun with a loaded magazine inserted, a .45 caliber handgun, another 9 mm handgun with the serial number scratched off, and 94 unspent rounds of ammunition.

Judge Peterson said that a 6-year prison sentence was necessary to reflect the seriousness of Murphy’s conduct. He highlighted that the type of drugs involved, particularly fentanyl, are deadly and present grave risks to the community. He also noted that the firearms, one of which was loaded, presented additional dangers. Under statute, the firearms charge required a mandatory minimum 5-year prison sentence. Judge Peterson said additional time beyond the mandatory minimum was needed to address the entirety of the conduct involved.

The charges against Murphy were the result of an investigation conducted by the Dane County Narcotics Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven P. Anderson and Anita Marie Boor prosecuted this case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

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