Alleged Drug Dealer in Palm Beach Arrested on First-Degree Murder Charge for Fentanyl Overdose Death

The opiod epidemic is taking a toll on communities throughout Florida and all over the United States. Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a bill into law making punishments harsher for individuals convicted of possessing fentanyl. The law went into effect in October 2017, expanding the State of Florida’s first-degree murder code to include drug dealers who sell a fatal dose of fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a strong opioid medication used to treat pain. It is 100 times more potent than morphine. This drug is often prescribed by doctors for discomfort after surgery or short-term intense pain. Fentanyl abuse has become more common in recent years. The drug is often found mixed with other street drugs, like heroin. The mix of heroin and fentanyl can be deadly. About 900 people died in Florida in 2016 from fentanyl overdoses.

The new Florida law targets drug dealers who are consciously distributing the drug to others. The law states that if someone dies from an overdose from the drug, the dealer can be held responsible and charged with first-degree murder. The law also includes the provision that an individual convicted of possessing four grams of the drug will face a mandatory prison sentence of three years. If an individual is found with 14 grams, the mandatory sentence increases to 15 years in prison. Any individual found with 28 grams or more is facing a minimum mandatory 25-year prison sentence.

In early October 2018, Calvin Warren Jr. was indicted for the murder of Thomas Matuseski in Palm Beach County. Thomas overdosed from fentanyl that was provided by Calvin. The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s office relied on Florida’s new law that enforces harsh penalties for fentanyl dealers for the first time since the law was enacted. Calvin was charged with illegal distribution of heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl. He stands accused of first-degree murder after the deadly drug deal. He is being held without bond at Palm Beach County Jail.

The consequences for drug crimes are becoming more aggressive as overdoses shake communities throughout the country. The Florida legislature has passed legislation that supports a strident approach to prosecuting drug criminals in the State.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney from Pallegar Law, P.A.

As drugs become a bigger issue throughout Florida, law enforcement and prosecutors will continue to pursue harsh penalties for drug crimes. If you or someone close to you is facing a drug charge, it is urgently important that you contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer from Pallegar Law, P.A. (941) 893-5816 for a free consultation. We have worked with many individuals facing drug charges and are prepared to help you with your case.

Sources:
https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/florida/os-drug-dealer-first-to-be-accused-of-murder-under-new-florida-law-prosecutor-says-20181008-story.html
https://www.thefix.com/alleged-drug-dealer-indicted-fentanyl-overdose-death

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