First Degree Charge Filed in Connection with Fatal Drug Overdose

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Morris County Correctional Facility


MORRIS COUNTY — Morris County Prosecutor Robert Carroll, Chief of Detectives Christoph Kimker, and Mount Olive Township Police Chief Stephen Beecher filed first degree Strict Liability for Drug-Induced Death charge against John P. Rowe, 30, with a last known address in Budd Lake.

The charge arises from a fatal drug overdose which occurred in Mount Olive on September 21, 2021.

On September 22, 2021, law enforcement responded to the Days Inn located in Mount Olive on a report of an unconscious male. The male victim, later identified as G.B., 19, was transported to the hospital and subsequently pronounced deceased on September 23, 2021.

The Morris County Medical Examiner’s Office has certified the cause of G.B.’s death as fentanyl toxicity. Based on subsequent investigation, it is alleged that John P. Rowe distributed fentanyl on September 21, 2021, in Morristown. It is further alleged that G.B.’s death resulted from his ingestion of the fentanyl distributed by Rowe. Rowe has been charged with Strict Liability for Drug-Induced Death in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-9.

This statute provides that any person who manufactures, distributes, or dispenses any of a number of controlled dangerous substances is strictly liable for a death that results from the injection, inhalation, or ingestion of that substance. This is a first-degree crime, which is punishable by up to twenty years in New Jersey State Prison and is subject to the eighty-five percent parole ineligibility requirements of the No Early Release Act.

In connection with this investigation, Rowe was previously charged with Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance with the Intent to Distribute, in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-5a(1) and N.J.S. 2C:35-5b(5), Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Dangerous Substance, in violation of N.J.S. 2C:5-2a(1) and N.J.S. 2C:35-5b(5), and Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance, in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-10a(1).

In accordance with the Criminal Justice Reform Act, Rowe has been detained in the Morris County Correctional Facility pending future court proceedings.