Drug delivery resulting in death: Dealer who sold fentanyl-laced heroin causing Johnstown man’s fatal overdose is charged with 1st-degree felony

May 17, 2017 | Topic: Opioids

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Somerset County District Attorney Lisa Lazzari-Strasiser today jointly announced charges against a Windber woman accused of delivering fentanyl-laced heroin to a 41-year-old Johnstown-area man who suffered a fatal overdose.

Kelly Lynne Wolf, 35, was charged with drug delivery resulting in death, delivery of a controlled substance and related charges. A felony warrant has been issued for her arrest. A joint investigation by the Office of Attorney General and Windber Borough Police confirmed that Wolf delivered fentanyl-laced heroin to Matthew Truscello hours before he suffered a fatal overdose at a residence in Windber, Somerset County. Truscello died last October 24.

“We’re using every law enforcement tool at our disposal to fight this epidemic in Pennsylvania and get the people peddling these poisons out of our communities,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “We’re putting criminals on notice: If you sell drugs and someone dies as a result, we’re coming after you to the fullest extent the law allows.”

“These investigations are complicated, and it’s a matter of connecting the dots between the deceased and the supplier,” said Somerset DA Lazzari-Strasiser. “With diligent police work involving cell phone technology, preliminary autopsy and lab results, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office along with Windber Borough Police and our office were able to identify the person responsible.”

Shapiro said prosecutors in the Office of Attorney General are increasingly using the charge of drug delivery resulting in death, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 40 years in prison, as a tactic to hold drug dealers fully accountable for their actions.

Since January, the Attorney General’s Office has filed drug delivery resulting in death charges in six cases, including the charges announced today against Wolf. Other cases using this charge have been filed in Wayne County, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Montgomery County and Wilkes-Barre.

In the Windber case, a forensic pathologist determined Truscello’s death was caused by acute drug toxicity due to the amount of fentanyl in his system. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Investigators obtained cell phone records that indicated Wolf had been in touch with Truscello on the day of his death to arrange a drug transaction. Wolf met Truscello at a bar in Windber Borough, where she delivered him the drugs that later led to his fatal overdose.

This drug investigation is one of many being conducted in several counties in and around the Altoona-Johnstown area as part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, a collaborative effort joining law enforcement officers from various state and local agencies targeting drug trafficking in the region. This case will be prosecuted by District Attorney Lazzari-Strasiser’s office.

Individuals who have witnessed a drug deal in their neighborhood or suspect illegal drug activity can send an anonymous tip to the Office of Attorney General by texting PADRUGS + YOUR TIP to 847411. Tips can also be submitted electronically here.

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