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Trial date for Niverville man charged in overdose deaths

September 6, 2019 04:50 pm Updated: September 6, 2019 11:01 pm

ALBANY — A Columbia County man charged in connection with two overdose deaths in July 2016 will go to trial in late September.

The trial of Jacob Ebel, 32, of Niverville, is set to begin Sept. 23 at 9:30 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino after the Friday deadline to submit a plea passed.

Ebel has been in custody since July 26, 2017, when he was charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class B felony, following an early-morning raid in Niverville that led to the seizure of drugs and guns, police said.

Overdose deaths from opioid use in northern Columbia County led to the July multi-agency police investigation.

Ebel is accused of distributing heroin and fentanyl July 3 to the first victim, identified only as “S.B.” in court documents, who died after taking the drugs. Weeks later, between July 18 and July 23, Ebel allegedly provided heroin and fentanyl to the spouse of the second victim, who is identified as “S.S,” who took the drugs and died, according to the federal indictment.

Ebel is also charged with possessing heroin and fentanyl with the intent to distribute, and conspiring to possess and distribute heroin and fentanyl.

Ebel was arraigned on Feb. 27, 2017 and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Ebel was initially arrested July 26 following an early-morning police raid in Niverville, which led to the seizure of drugs and guns, according to police. Heroin, cocaine, LSD, prescription pills, drug paraphernalia and other items were seized, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office said at the time. The heroin has a street value of about $5,000.

Evidence in the trial includes “several thousand pages of documents and audio and video recordings,” according to court papers. The trial is expected to last 6-8 days.

If convicted, Ebel could face at least 20 years to life in prison, a fine of up to $1 million, and a term of post-imprisonment supervised release of at least three years and up to life. Sentencing is decided by a judge based on the statute the defendant is charged with violating, U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.

Ebel’s July arrest followed a month-long investigation by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and state police. The joint investigation led to the raid on Rowland Road, a street near Kinderhook Lake in northern Columbia County, according to the sheriff’s office.

The indictment against Ebel is the result of a joint investigation conducted by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, the sheriff’s office and state police, with assistance from the office of Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Barnett is the prosecutor.

To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.