Home Family Law Prosecutors in Georgia are threatening fentanyl dealers with murder

Prosecutors in Georgia are threatening fentanyl dealers with murder

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Prosecutors across Georgia are trying to flex their legal muscles to combat fentanyl overdose deaths. They charge the accused dealers with aggravated murder if someone dies from the drug that was sold to them with a lethal amount of the opioid. Deaths from fentanyl drugs have been “the leading cause of death in the state of Georgia for 18 to 45 years,” said Brandon Delfunt, a former prosecutor in Gwinnett County. Delfunt once headed the county’s drug and gang task force. Families of fentanyl overdose victims said the pain of losing a loved one is heartbreaking. Dena Wilkerson is the cousin of April Raices, a family member and close friend. A fentanyl overdose killed her two years ago. “There were obvious signs. You know, she had lost some weight. She was acting strange. I find it terrible. I think it’s not just my cousin, I think since 2020 I’ve seen more people die from a fentanyl overdose than from COVID,” Wilkerson said. On July 12, a Chatham grand jury indicted Tracy Lee Agin on murder charges for allegedly selling a lethal dose of fentanyl to Raices. It’s the first time a suspected drug dealer has been charged with murder in Chatham County. Agin’s lawyer, Skye Musson, did not comment on the allegations against her client: “We’re looking after her family members.” And people don’t just come on stage, find someone who has died and say, “Oh well.” I mean, this is brutal,” said Michael Sarhatt, director of the Chatham Savannah Counter Narcotics Team. Prosecutors say charging suspected drug dealers with murder is a new application of Georgia’s 2010 murder clause. The law states: “A person commits the crime of murder if he or she causes the death of another human being in the commission of a crime.” “causes, without regard to malice,” and it results in the death of a human being, you can be charged with murder in the state of Georgia.” Delfunt said prosecutors in Gwinnett County have used the law to good effect. He points to a drug dealer named Eric Denver Moore, who pleaded guilty to aggravated murder in October 2021 for selling heroin laced with fentanyl that killed someone in 2019. “The Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office has had cases where individuals refused to come to Gwinnett. “The county sold drugs because they knew the county would prosecute them for felony murder,” Delfunt said. He has lectured other prosecutors on the application and challenges of charging drug dealers with aggravated murder. He said an important element is proving that the dealer knew the drug contained fentanyl when it was sold to an unsuspecting buyer. Delfunt said: “It is a more novel area of ​​law. And with that comes hesitation to make sure we all get it right.” Sarhatt believes charging dealers with murder can help reduce future overdose deaths, along with outreach and education. He tells WJCL 22 News he suspects there have been 56 cases of overdose deaths in Chatham County in which the dealer could be charged with murder. He points out that due to staffing levels and the complexity of the cases, not all defendants can be charged. Still, he hopes dealers hear the warning: “Don’t sell fentanyl or anything that might be laced with it. Because if you cause death, we’re after you,” Sarhatt said. A new approach to contact that Dena Wilkerson welcomes, even if it comes too late to save her cousin. “Hopefully this will slow it down a little bit. “It will at least make dealers aware that this is a possible consequence if they cut their fentanyl sales,” Wilkerson said. District police chase at speeds of 130 miles per hour. ‘It’s a sad day’: Police investigate fatal shooting in Port Wentworth

Prosecutors across Georgia are trying to flex their legal muscles to combat fentanyl overdose deaths. They charge the accused dealers with aggravated murder if someone dies from the drug that was sold to them with a lethal amount of the opioid.

Deaths from fentanyl drugs have been “the leading cause of death in the state of Georgia for 18 to 45 years,” said Brandon Delfunt, a former prosecutor in Gwinnett County.

Delfunt once led the county’s drug and gang task force.

Families of fentanyl overdose victims said the pain of losing a loved one is heartbreaking. Dena Wilkerson is the cousin of April Raices, a family member and close friend. Two years ago she died of a fentanyl overdose.

“There were obvious signs. You know, she had lost some weight. She was acting strange. I find it terrible. I think it’s not just my cousin, I think I’ve seen more people die from a fentanyl overdose than from COVID since 2020,” Wilkerson said.

On July 12, a Chatham grand jury indicted Tracy Lee Agin on aggravated murder charges for allegedly selling a fatal dose of fentanyl to Raices. It’s the first time a suspected drug dealer has been charged with murder in Chatham County. Agin’s lawyer, Skye Musson, did not comment on the allegations against her client.

“We take care of their family members. And people don’t just come on stage, find someone who’s died and say, ‘Oh well.’ I mean, that’s brutal,” said Michael Sarhatt, the director of the Chatham Savannah Counter Narcotics Team.

Prosecutors say charging suspected drug dealers with murder is a new application of Georgia’s 2010 murder clause.

The law states: “A person commits the offense of murder if, in the commission of a felony, he causes the death of another person without regard to intent.”

Delfunt said applying this state law to drug overdoses sends a message to criminals: “Ultimately, in the state of Georgia, if you sell drugs and it results in the death of someone, you can be charged with murder.”

Delfunt said prosecutors in Gwinnett County have used the law successfully. He points to a drug dealer named Eric Denver Moore, who pleaded guilty to aggravated murder in October 2021 for selling heroin laced with fentanyl that killed someone in 2019.

“The Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office has had cases where individuals have refused to come to Gwinnett County to sell drugs because they knew they would be prosecuted in the county for aggravated murder,” Delfunt said.

He has lectured other prosecutors on the application and challenges of charging drug dealers with aggravated murder. He said an important element is proving that the dealer knew the drug contained fentanyl when it was sold to an unsuspecting buyer.

Delfunt said: “It is a more novel area of ​​law. And with that comes hesitation to make sure we all get it right.”

Sarhatt believes charging dealers with murder can help reduce future overdose deaths, along with public outreach and education. He tells WJCL 22 News he suspects there have been 56 cases of overdose deaths in Chatham County in which the dealer could be charged with murder. He points out that due to staffing levels and the complexity of the cases, not all defendants can be charged. Still, he hopes retailers hear the warning.

“Do not sell fentanyl or anything that may be laced with it. Because if you cause death, we will come after you,” Sarhatt said.

A new approach to contact that Dena Wilkerson welcomes, even if it’s too late to save her cousin.

“Hopefully this will make it a little slower. It will at least make dealers aware that this is a possible consequence if they cut their fentanyl sales,” Wilkerson said.

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