Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Heroin Epidemic Leads to Fatal Overdose Charges

DA John Morganelli and Forks Tp Police Detective Philomena Kelly announce
charges against dealer who supplied lethal heroin overdose. 
Decrying "the growing epidemic of heroin use in Pennsylvania," NorCo DA John Morganelli on January 5 announced that he had just approved the filing of criminal charges against an accused heroin dealer whose victim died of acute heroin intoxication on August 20, 2015. Daniel Joseph Fisher, age 29, has been charged with "drug delivery resulting in death" as a result of the the heroin overdose death of Thomas O'Brien, Jr., age 27, on August 20, 2015. This is a first degree felony, carrying a maximum penalty of 40 years imprisonment.

These charges are the result of a painstaking investigation conducted by Forks Township Police Department Detective Philomena Kelly, who was credited by Morganelli for her thorough work. Morganelli pledged that the charges will be "vigorously prosecuted," and has assigned the case to Assistant DA Patricia Mulqueen, who heads up the Drug Unit in his office.

Noting that there have been three recent heroin overdose deaths in Northampton County, Morganelli observed that Pennsylvania State Police reportedly have seized four times as much heroin in the second quarter of 2015 than they did in the first.
"It is clear that the trafficking of heroin has reached all parts of Pennsylvania in alarming ways. The citizens must recognize that heroin is a dangerous drug and use of heroin is similar to playing Russian roulette. Those who deal in this poison are also on notice that we will continue to identify those of you who sold heroin that have killed individuals and you will be prosecuted vigorously."
Morganelli said that one of the reasons heroin has become epidemic is because it is so cheap. Noting the proliferation of prescription drugs like Oxycodone and Vicadin, the state's senior prosecutor lamented a "culture of people living on these painkillers" who find that heroin is a cheaper alternative, and easier to get. "There's a pretty strong link between abuse of addictive drugs and heroin," he said.

This investigation began on August 2, 2015, when Thomas O'Brien, Jr., was discovered unresponsive in the restroom at Follett Corporation, a Forks Township company that specializes in manufacturing ice dispensers for both the food service and health industries. Employees immediately began CPR and contacted both Forks Township Police and Suburban EMS.

Though Forks Township Police have no heroin overdose kits, Suburban EMS does and began administering it en route to Easton Hospital. The reason this was done is because officers on scene discovered seven empty heroin baggies and a needle underneath O'Brien's body and an additional needle in his backpack.

O'Brien succumbed on August 24, 2015, and a toxicology report revealed that his death was the result of acute heroin intoxication.

In the meantime, Detective Philomena Kelly began an exhaustive investigation. Through a series of interviews, she determined that there was a strong likelihood that the heroin came from a dealer named "Dan." Family members told Kelly that they had confronted "Dan" about selling heroin to their son, and also identified a picture of a person identified as Forks Township resident Daniel Joseph Fisher, Jr.

Detective Kelly then began examining text messages exchanged between Fisher and O'Brien, establishing both that Fisher was O'Brien's supplier, and that it was in fact Fisher who supplied the seven baggies of heroin and drug paraphernalia that proved to be the direct and immediate cause of O'Brien's death. She also obtained video footage showing Fisher leaving the Follett Company just moments before an unresponsive O'Brien was found She also was able to establish that Fisher purchased needles used for heroin just before his deadly visit.

Fisher is currently housed at the Northampton County jail on an unrelated matter.

Morganelli noted that heroin overdose kits are not in use by many police departments in Northampton County because of inadequate training and concerns about liability. But noting that "many police officers are the first responders," he indicated he is working on a program through the state that might be able to help police departments.

This overdose death is strictly the result of heroin. There have been recent concerns about heroin laced with fentanyl, which is deadly at low levels. Though Detective Kelly has heard these concerns, "I specifically have not seen it."

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are still only treating the symptom, not the disease

Anonymous said...

Good job detective! I hope there isn't a plea deal to lower charges like 99% of cases filed in the county.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
this is a intresting topic, American military guard popi feilds for big pharmacuticals or the illegal inception into the UnitedStates¿!($
That said who and what entity is supplying the American drug habit that is now going after the souls of our children¿!($ The reel problem is just begining to make its way back east with the ReNue ReTread poision being methanphedimine¿!($
The nue war is being fought and they are winning on American soil¿!($
redd
patent pending

Anonymous said...

Love how the junkies , find out on the street, that people are over dosing and or dying from the current "brand" of heroin and they want more of the dangerous "batch". They go out of their way to find it. Super idea and great decision making abilities.

Anonymous said...

Kids are ending up on heroin in greater number than ever... they start on Oxy, gravitate to crack because it's cheaper, then end up on heroin because it's cheaper still... then too many end up dead.... and it's happening everywhere.

This is bad.

The Banker

Brass Junkie said...

Legalize it mon!

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have no problem with legalizing weed. Heroin and cocaine should remain criminalized.

Anonymous said...

All of this is transpiring amid strict prohibition. The so-called war on drugs is a multi-billion dollar failure that has spawned greater abuse and associated crime. These are lessons we failed to learn after alcohol Prohibition caused the same thing.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Sorry, but you're not going to make that sale with heroin. Try that bullshit somewhere else. Heroin is a killer.

Anonymous said...

Agree with Bernie - I'd legalize pot today if I could.

Heroin, crack, etc. No, never.

The Banker

Anonymous said...

I get the fear of killer heroin. But again, the problem is worse now than ever amid strict prohibition and breathtaking money being spent to combat it. I'm not thrilled with legalizing it. But the current strategy has resulted in things getting worse; a lot worse. We seem to be banging our heads against a wall. Do you support more of the same strategy and the worsening problems it delivers? There has to be a better approach. Maintaining the same one is sentencing more and more people to death. I support decriminalization and unlimited access to rehab (as many rehabbers try and fail multiple times. It would be far less costly and might actually save lives by directing more resources at saving people. Our current strategy is a heartless failure. The mounting body count is proof.

Anonymous said...

Illegal alcohol gave rise to a violent black market exploited by gangsters, and to bathtub gin that blinded and killed many of its users. NY's cigarette tax raised a pack price to $14 and birthed a lucrative black market that cost the state $400 million in tax revenue in 2015, and cost a Staten Island guy his life when cops beat him senseless as he attempted to sell onesies and twosies on the street. Drug prohibitions have provided a record number of deaths via synthetic (bathtub?) weed and a heroin problem much worse than anyone in the late 60s could imagine. I don't have the answer. There's a recovering heroin addict in my family and it's been a heartbreaking and terrible struggle for all of us. But history demonstrates that prohibitions and attempts at prohibitions worsen problems.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You'll never get me to agree to the legalization of heroin. Sorry. Try making an argument that might win, like decriminalization of weed.

Anonymous said...

As a recreational heroin user who does not inject but "booty bumps" I can say the black market is a major pain in the rump and know of many people who secretly indulge in this activity regularly and safely. Don't knock it til you've tried it is a good way to live, would you have ever took the toxic poison alcohol knowing what you do now?

Blue Badger

Anonymous said...

Legalize pot.
Decriminalize H.
Two different approaches.
You should know better, BOH.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I do, and I would never agree to decriminalize heroin.

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with legalizing weed. Heroin and cocaine should remain criminalized.

Then you should legalize pharmaceutical equivalents. This isn't going to magically go away so its best if the drugs are administered by someone that has medical knowledge.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but you're not going to make that sale with heroin. Try that bullshit somewhere else. Heroin is a killer.

You see, ignorance is the biggest perpetuator of the drug war.

In 2014, there were 10,574 heroin overdose deaths.

In 2013, there were 29,001alcohol-induced deaths.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:03 I didn't think their was anyone who used heroin as a recreational drug. I understand that once you use it, your addicted. I know many young people and that is the case for all of them. Heroin is killing America.

Anonymous said...

2:29 - I've never used heroin but your ignorance is astounding. I suppose you've never been in the hospital and had morphine or had an injury and were recruited pain killers? It's the same goddmamned thing - while morphine and vicodin are addicting, it's not like you take it once or ever a dozen times and are then physically addicted. We really need to be become educated on these issues and stop basing everything on an after school movie from 1974,

Anonymous said...

recruited=prescribed