COLWYN, Pa. (CBS) — A Delaware County man could serve decades behind bars for allegedly dealing fentanyl-laced heroin to a Chester man who overdosed and died.
Walking out of the Delaware County courthouse, convicted drug dealer, 28-year-old Raheem Harper, of Colwyn, is already serving a five-year minimum prison sentence but now faces the possibility of 69 more years behind bars.
The Delaware County District Attorney’s Office on Monday charged Harper with the death of another 28-year-old man.
Authorities say on April 19, 2017, the man died on Edgmont Avenue in Chester.
Officials say that a forensic examination of the victim’s cellphone found at the scene established that Harper was the drug dealer who delivered the deadly fentanyl-laced heroin that resulted in the victim’s death. Harper allegedly gave him fentynal-laced heroin four times, in exchange for a PlayStation and $40.
Within a week, the victim died.
“He lost his life over that; it’s a sad day,” said District Attorney Katayoun Copeland.
This is the second time in a week that the district attorney’s office has charged a drug dealer or alleged drug dealer with an overdose death.
Copeland hopes drug dealers get the message she is trying to send.
“Drug traffickers should know we will pursue these charges.”
There have been almost 70 drug-related deaths in Delaware County this year, almost all of them were fentynal/heroin overdoses.
Harper was initially arrested on April 21, 2017 in Tinicum Township during a traffic stop. Authorities say Harper was in possession of cocaine and heroin at the time. Following his arrest, he posted bail and was released from custody. Then, on May 6, 2017, Harper was arrested again in his vehicle during a drug investigation and police say he had over 1,500 bags of heroin on him.
Harper was sentenced up to 12 years in state prison on those drug charges on Nov. 17.
The DA hopes going after drug dealers this way will reduce the number of people losing theirs lives to addictions.
“Fentanyl is a highly-addictive synthetic alternative to morphine and is used to treat pain in the terminally ill and the combination of fentanyl with heroin increases the potency of both drugs,” said Copeland. “Once ingested, this deadly mixture creates a powerful high and often, sadly, causes immediate death.”
Harper has been charged with drug delivery resulting in death, delivery of a controlled substance, involuntary manslaughter and other related charges. The drug delivery death offense carries a maximum of 20 to 40 years in state prison.