It is no secret that opioid deaths continue climbing throughout the country. As more victims die from overdoses, police are turning to charge drug dealers in the hopes that harsher consequences for supplying addicts with illegal substances will reduce their availability. While police have rarely charged people connected to overdose deaths in the past, drug dealers face an increased risk of being criminally implicated should their customers die.
Palm Beach County Cracks Down on Drug Dealers
Recently in Lake Worth, a 28-year-old opioid addict overdosed on carfentanil just hours after paying his dealer’s electric bill. The young man had a talent for working with computers. He would fix them, hack credit cards, pay people’s bills, and do just about anything for a supply of heroin and Xanax. His addiction to opioids grew after suffering a back injury.
The young man lived with his mother in Boynton Beach. In the course of the three years leading up to his death, he overdosed four times. Having also suffered from bipolar disorder, he was convinced he could manage his health without any outside help. The victim failed to take his bipolar medication regularly and was kicked out of rehabilitation. He took the deadly dose of carfentanil — which he likely thought was heroin — just a week after the rehabilitation center released him.
The man also lived with a roommate, who had noticed him missing. According to an exchange of text messages between the man’s drug dealer and roommate, the dealer disclosed that she had sold him heroin and Xanax and swore that she didn’t cut it with anything; that she gave the drugs to her customers the same way she received them from her supplier.
The 28-year old met his dealer through her incarcerated boyfriend, who was his former drug dealer. The new drug dealer was taking care of the previous dealer’s customers while he was in jail. Now, she is incarcerated in the Palm Beach County jail and being held on a $104,000 bond in one of the few cases in which a drug dealer faces manslaughter charges in addition to fraud and drug charges. The former drug dealer does not face charges in connection with the man’s death.
Opioid Deaths in Palm Beach County
Lawmakers have struggled to combat the effects of addiction in communities nationwide. In an unrelated case, another Lake Worth drug dealer faces a 30-year federal prison sentence for the overdose death of one of his customers. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Nucci believes that the harsh penalty will set an example to others.
Palm Beach County is known for being an affluent county in South Florida; however, this has not made it immune to the opioid epidemic. In 2016, 552 people died from drug overdoses in Palm Beach County, compared with 268 people in 2015 and 167 in 2014.
Drug dealers cannot predict when a customer will have a fatal overdose. Whether the state’s methods of fighting the the opioid crisis are effective or not, dealers face a significant risk of harsh charges they may not have received in the past. If you face manslaughter charges in West Palm Beach, call attorney Brian Gabriel at 561-622-5575 for a free case review.