King County Prosecutors say they are working to hold drug dealers accountable. During the last five months of 2022, 67 allegations of trafficking in fentanyl were filed.
SEATTLE — Since the beginning of 2023, the King County Prosecutor’s Office says 35 people have died from overdoses related to fentanyl.
Prosecutors say they are working to hold drug traffickers accountable. During the last five months of 2022, 67 allegations of trafficking in fentanyl were filed.
When drug cases used to come up on Joseph Marchesano’s desk, he said it would be a pretty even mix involving methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine.
“But now, if there’s a case of drug trafficking or an overdose, it’s predictable that it’s fentanyl,” said Marchesano, King County Senior Deputy Attorney General. “Every week we get those numbers from the medical examiner’s office, it just seems like it’s getting higher and higher.”
In King County, data shows that fentanyl-related overdoses nearly double from year to year. In 2020, 173 people died and the following year, the death toll rose to 385. In 2022, there were 685 fentanyl-related overdoses in King County.
An increase in overdose also led to an increase in referral cases. According to the King County Prosecutor’s Office, late last year, a large drug trafficking organization was busted with 68,000 fentanyl pills and more than 4 pounds of fentanyl powder. In September, Seattle police recovered a long list of items from a Ballard home, including 14 guns, $44,000 and more than 1,300 grams of fentanyl. Then in December, another case took more than 4,000 grams of fentanyl over the counter. That’s important when you consider the consequences, Marchesano says.
“The victim didn’t know which pill could be fatal,” he said.
When there is a death from a drug overdose, a specific crime that prosecutors can charge is called drug murder.
“Basically, what we need to do is prove that a drug dealer gave drugs to a victim and that victim died from those drugs,” Marchesano said.
Marchesano said they have only had one case of being charged with drug murder recently. There have been cases of reductions in drug transportation fees.
https://www.king5.com/article/news/health/35-fentanyl-related-overdose-deaths-king-county-one-month/281-3cfb149e-c94b-4ca3-89af-c1d1b92406e5 35 fentanyl-related overdose deaths in King County in less than a month