DA Smittcamp: ‘I Will File as Many Murder Cases Against Drug Dealers as I Can’ - GV Wire - Explore. Explain. Expose
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DA Smittcamp: ‘I Will File as Many Murder Cases Against Drug Dealers as I Can’

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DA Lisa Smittcamp's office has filed a murder charge against a woman who allegedly dealt deadly fentanyl-laced pills to Jade Alexandra Dreith. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)
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With fentanyl killing Americans in alarming numbers, Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp is pursuing justice for victims with an iron fist.

On Tuesday, Smittcamp’s office filed murder charges against Cassidy Mairie Gonzalez, 21, who allegedly sold fentanyl-laced pills that killed Jade Alexandra Dreith in January.

“This is murder without using a firearm. The weapon is fentanyl,” said Smittcamp. “They know that this pill can kill people and they continue to sell it.”

If convicted, Gonzalez faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

Seeking Maximum Sentences

An increasing number of prosecutors share Smittcamp’s disgust with traffickers dealing fentanyl.

In April, the U.S. Attorney announced seven criminal cases against drug dealers who sold fentanyl-laced narcotics that caused fatal overdoses in Orange County. In one of those cases, three people died in Newport Beach. The potential sentences in those cases range from a minimum of 20 years to a maximum of life without parole.

In Oklahoma, state prosecutors have filed murder charges after fentanyl overdose deaths. And, last month, the San Bernardino County DA’s Office filed a murder charge against an 18-year-old for allegedly selling and distributing opioids resulting in the death of another man.

In addition to the murder charge against Gonzalez, Smittcamp’s office charged Alejandro Laverde-Nuno, 25, with being an accessory after the fact.

Relatives of the victim said that Dreith thought she had gotten pills that would relieve her back pain. Not knowing the pills had fentanyl, she took them and died.

“When people show a conscious disregard for human life, you can prove murder,” Smittcamp said. “I will file as many murder cases against drug dealers as I can.”

America’s Killer Drug

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, many fentanyl poisoning victims have no idea they’ve ingested the drug.

“Fentanyl is the single deadliest drug threat our nation has ever encountered,” says DEA Administrator Anne Milgram. “From large cities to rural America, no community is safe from the presence of fentanyl.”

Because fentanyl is cheap and about 50 times more potent than heroin, drug dealers mix it with other street drugs to create repeat customers, the DEA says. Just 2 milligrams of fentanyl can be deadly.

According to the CDC, nearly 108,000 people died in the United States last year because of drug overdoses and poisonings. About two-thirds of those deaths involved synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.

 

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email