Fentanyl Dealers Face Rising Homicide Charges as Overdose Deaths Increase

Credits: Dallas Morning News

As the fentanyl crisis continues to escalate, a new task force in Los Angeles is taking an aggressive approach to hold drug dealers accountable by pursuing murder charges in cases where the synthetic opioid leads to fatalities.

Fentanyl, known for its potency, affordability, and easy accessibility, has contributed to a surge in overdose deaths across the United States.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has formed a task force led by Lieutenant Bobby Dean, specifically focused on investigating fentanyl-related deaths in the county.

The primary objective is to bring charges against dealers responsible for distributing the lethal substance. Lieutenant Dean emphasizes that fentanyl is “a hundred times more powerful than morphine” and poses an immediate threat, capable of causing death instantly.

Fentanyl Overdose (Credits: King 5 News)

In Los Angeles County alone, the sheriff’s department handles hundreds of fentanyl-related death investigations annually. Sheriff Robert Luna underscores the task force’s intention to treat these cases as homicides, comparing the act of selling fentanyl to other deadly offenses like stabbings or shootings.

This strategy mirrors a growing trend across the country, where law enforcement agencies are exploring ways to hold drug dealers criminally responsible for overdose deaths.

In 2023, the Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies seized over 3 million fentanyl pills, marking an increase of 300,000 pills from the previous year.

In an undercover operation, deputies purchased a baggie containing approximately 10 pills designed to look like prescription pain medication. This small purchase, costing $80, was estimated to contain enough fentanyl to cause the deaths of up to 20 people.

One of the cases under investigation by the task force involves the death of Jax Markley, an 18-year-old who succumbed to fentanyl poisoning in 2022. Jax’s mother, Daisy Markley, discovered her son’s lifeless body in his room, prompting an emotional response from the family.

Matt Markley, Jax’s father, expressed a desire to hold those responsible accountable for providing the lethal drugs, emphasizing the awareness of the deadly nature of fentanyl.

Detectives from the task force have made arrests in connection with Jax Markley’s death, with the accused individual awaiting trial in federal court.

This proactive approach by the Los Angeles task force highlights the urgency in addressing the fentanyl crisis and attempting to curb the rising number of overdose deaths associated with the potent opioid.

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