PATERSON, N.J. -- An accused Paterson drug dealer and two others from Orange County were charged with selling the heroin that killed a user, authorities said Wednesday.
Charged in New Jersey with strict liability for a drug-induced death are Shameik "Homeboy" Byrd, 26, of Paterson, along with Anthony Potts, 27, and his girlfriend, 20-year-old Noel Ferguson.
Potts and Ferguson were arrested at their home Tuesday night, Acting New Jersey Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino said. Byrd was arrested on June 2, he said.
All were charged in connection with the death of Kean Cabral, 25, who was found dead of an overdose at his Warwick home the morning of April 3, Porrino said.
The arrests stem from a joint investigation conducted with the New York Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force, the Warwick Police Department and the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office, he said.
"The New York Attorney General’s Office had enlisted the aid of the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office in a prior case as a result of their existing partnership on the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Heroin Task Force (NEMA-HTF), a task force of state attorneys general that is promoting collaboration to fight heroin trafficking," Porrino said.
"Through task force discussions, the New York prosecutors were aware of New Jersey’s strict liability statute and the potential to prosecute a drug dealer for a first-degree crime based on an overdose death," he said.
Both attorneys general announced the arrest in November of an accused Paterson drug dealer in the death of a Warwick man last year.
“We issued a directive to police in New Jersey to investigate all overdose deaths with a view to potentially charging the dealers responsible under our strict liability law,” Director Elie Honig of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice added. “We’re encouraged that not only are New Jersey police responding but our task force partners in New York are bringing us cases such as this one."
“Heroin trafficking doesn’t stop at state borders, so law enforcement agencies must collaborate across state lines to protect their communities from the scourge of addiction,” New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said. “These arrests are a clear example of how the sharing of resources among states can produce stronger cases against interstate heroin traffickers."
Following an alert from the Warwick Police, detectives from the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office set up surveillance in Paterson on April 6 and spotted Potts and Ferguson participating in a heroin deal on East 34th Street, Porrino said.
The investigators stopped their car and took both into custody after Ferguson turned over 50 or so folds of heroin stamped “Trap Queen” in red ink, he said.
The pair sold several folds of the same to Cabral on april 1 and 2 after getting it from Byrd in Paterson, the attorney general said.
Potts and Ferguson were being held in Orange County pending extradition to New Jersey. Byrd was being held on $150,000 bail in the Passaic County Jail.
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