Fentanyl Crimes Aggressively Prosecuted by Federal Agencies
August 16, 2018
With the rise in the opioid epidemic throughout the country many Federal and state agencies are aggressively targeting and prosecuting crimes that involve fentanyl. The popular and very strong and addictive opioid pain medication is known to be 100 times more potent than morphine and several times more powerful than heroin. Through the use of previously rarely used statutes that treat overdose deaths as homicides law enforcement agencies have been able to confiscate large quantities of the drug in addition to bringing charges against foreign nationals for a wide range of conspiracies. As the call for the fight against opioids to be increased grows it is not surprising that these agencies are taking such drastic measures at this time.
Dangers of Fentanyl
More than 42,000 people died from an opioid overdose in 2016 with almost half of those deaths attributed to fentanyl according to a report from the Center for Disease Control. The synthetic opioid is so strong only a few grains of it is enough to be a fatal dose, and as the drug comes to this country from China and Mexico it can also end up being added in to counterfeit prescription pills or mixed into heroin and cocaine. An example of how aggressively the Feds are actively pursuing these crimes only 74 people were charged by a federal prosecutor in 2016 while that number increased dramatically to 267 people who were charged for fentanyl-related crimes in 2017. The epidemic is not only being fought on the Federal level as prosecutions on the local level have risen exponentially as well. Many states including New Jersey and Pennsylvania have enacted increasingly stronger laws against fentanyl, even charging those who supply a fentanyl user with a fatal dose with various types of manslaughter and as well as murder charges. It is the hope that even if they are ultimately not able to get a conviction in these instances that all of the opioid dealers out there are now at least aware that these types of charges are the new reality in which these circumstances are handled and that this can hopefully be a strong deterrent to anyone who wishes to deal in this drug in the future. Clearly many have decided that they still plan to stay in this line of work but the severe consequences of their actions can no longer be ignored.
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