Authorities in New Jersey Step Up Efforts to Prosecute Fentanyl Distributors
A recent spate of arrests and prosecutions related to distribution of fentanyl illustrates how New Jersey and federal authorities are attempting to gain control over an intensifying opioid crisis. As law enforcement ramps up its investigations and prosecutors seek harsh sentences to try to send a message, it is more important than ever for anyone facing opioid charges to find experienced defense counsel to protect their rights.
Prosecutors are focusing particular attention on fentanyl, a highly addictive and potentially lethal opioid that is often contained in counterfeit medications. Arrests in September and October in Ocean and Passaic counties illustrate the range of serious criminal charges that can a suspect can face, including:
- Strict liability drug-induced death — This a New Jersey charge brought when there is a direct link between a person distributing a drug with a high potential for abuse and a user suffering a fatal overdose. An Ocean County man arrested in October is facing this charge after supplying fentanyl-laced heroin to a man who died after ingesting it. Strict liability drug-induced death is a first-degree felony. A conviction carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, with 20 years a real possibility.
- Drug distribution, trafficking and possession with intent to deliver — These overlapping crimes carry severe penalties that vary depending on the type and amount of drug involved. For example, a conviction for distributing less than an ounce of marijuana can carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. In cases with high volumes of dangerous drugs, like heroin and fentanyl, a conviction could mean 20 years in prison and fines of $500,000.
- Conspiracy — Two Passaic County men arrested in September are facing up to 40 years in prison and fines up to $5 million on federal charges of conspiracy to distribute heroin or fentanyl. Conspiracy is a complex, overarching crime that prosecutors often use to charge as many people as possible and to take down suspected drug rings. If two or more people are involved in unlawful drug distribution, they could be charged with conspiracy. Penalties vary greatly depending on the facts of each case.
These are the principal criminal charges you could face with if you are accused of being involved with fentanyl distribution. Other charges in state or federal court are possible, depending on the circumstances. You could lose your freedom for an extensive length of time if convicted, so you owe it to yourself to retain a drug crime defense lawyer who is known for success in high-stakes cases.
The Law Offices of David Jay Glassman represents clients in serious drug cases across the state of New Jersey. We have locations in Marlton, New Brunswick, Newark and Hackensack. Call 866-221-1270 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.