PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is filing felony drug charges against a man accused of delivering a dose of fatal heroin and fentanyl to a local man.
Daniel Scott was found dead in his home in North Fayette Township on Sept. 14, 2016. Autopsy results showed that he died of an overdose. Investigators used his cell phone records to trace Scott’s drug deals to Shaunteze Turner, who allegedly provided the drugs.
“He was dealing heroin that he labeled blue magic, or Nyquil,” says Shapiro.
Turner has been charged with drug delivery resulting in death, as well as three counts of delivery. The charge is a first-degree felony, and is punishable by up to 40 years in prison, and a $25,000 fine.
“The charge that we are filing today against Turner carries with it roughly double the penalty that he would have otherwise received, or could have otherwise received, by simply charging him with regular drug dealing,” says Shapiro.
Shapiro says the opioid and heroin epidemic is Pennsylvania’s number one health and safety crisis.
“Eighty percent of heroin addicts start with a legal prescription drug. That’s how they begin their path to addiction,” says Shapiro.
“It’s a crisis, it’s an epidemic, and we’re going to do all that we can here in North Fayette to combat it,” says Chief Mark O’Donnell of North Fayette Township Police.
Shapiro says charging people with drug delivery resulting in death is a key step to fighting the epidemic, because it carries higher penalties.
“Whether it’s a doctor giving out a prescription drug, or a dealer dealing drugs on the street corners in southwestern Pennsylvania, we are not afraid to use this charge,” says Shapiro.
KDKA’s Paul Martino Reports —
The charges come on the same day President Donald Trump officially declared the opioid crisis a national emergency.
“The opioid crisis is an emergency, and I’m saying officially, right now, it is an emergency. It’s a national emergency. We’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis,” President Trump said.
Turner is the seventh person in the state to be charged by the Attorney General’s office with this felony.
Three other defendants have also been charged in connection with Scott’s death: Richard Otto, Kirk Garrett and Tracy Skipper.
They’re facing charges of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.