A California man who sold fentanyl to a 15-year-old girl who died of an overdose last summer has been convicted of second-degree murder
Authorities believe the murder conviction is the first-ever for dealing the drug
Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid drug
TUESDAY, July 11, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- A fentanyl dealer has been found guilty of second-degree murder in what authorities believe is the first-ever murder conviction for dealing the dangerous drug.
The conviction happened in Placer County, Calif., in a case involving the fatal overdose last summer of a 15-year-old girl in Roseville, about 20 miles northeast of Sacramento, ABC News reported.
"This conviction could be a watershed moment in the war on fentanyl," said Steven Clark, legal analyst and former Santa Clara County District Attorney.
"The fact that there was a conviction sends a message to the people dealing fentanyl you could pay for being in jail for the rest of your life," he said, noting that the key to these cases is proving the dealer knew they were selling deadly fentanyl.
The person convicted is a 21-year-old, ABC News reported.
"Fentanyl is everywhere and it's deadly," Placer County District Attorney Morgan Gire said recently. "If they choose to continue their behavior and sell and kill, the consequences will increase and they will be severe."
He predicted that more of these cases will be prosecuted, because traditional drug laws have not stopped people from selling fentanyl and it has become a national health crisis.
Placer County resident Tammy Morgan talked to ABC News about her son’s addiction.
"They're preying on vulnerable people. One, people who are addicted to drugs, people who need drugs and then, two you have a subset of dealers who are preying on kids and children on SnapChat," she said. "He's doing drugs daily, he's caught up in a devastation and it's heartbreaking because it's slowly killing him."
San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said in a statement last September that her office was ready to charge drug dealers with murder, ABC News reported.
"The lethality of fentanyl presents new and unprecedented risks to our community, and we must do everything in our power to hold drug dealers accountable to help save lives," Jenkins said in the statement. "We have to send a strong message in the community and in the courtroom that we will not stand by and allow dealers to kill innocent people and those suffering from addiction."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on fentanyl.
SOURCE: ABC News, July 8, 2023
Legal authorities have a new weapon in the battle against deadly fentanyl.