San Diego

Dealer Pleads Guilty in DA's First Fentanyl Murder Prosecution

Fentanyl overdoses have rapidly increased in past years, said DA

The man who supplied a Poway resident with fentanyl-laced drugs that led to a deadly overdose last November pleaded guilty to manslaughter in court Monday, according to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office (DA).

This is the first fentanyl murder case to be prosecuted by the DA.

The DA has identified Alfred Lemus Jr. as the dealer who knowingly sold drugs laced with the lethal opiate fentanyl to the victim in Poway and many others.

Lemus, 31, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, selling a controlled substance, possession for sale of a controlled substance, and possession of a firearm by a felon, according to the DA’s office.

“This first-of-its kind prosecution sends a message that when you sell fentanyl to another human being, you are literally providing them with toxic poison that can kill them in a matter of seconds,” said DA Summer Stephan.

This comes after fentanyl overdoses in San Diego have rapidly increased with more than 40 deaths last year alone, according to the DA’s office.

Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more powerful and deadly than morphine, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office.

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About half of the unintentional drug and alcohol overdoses in the county in 2016 were caused by opioids like fentanyl, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said it is fully investigating all overdose deaths to understand the reach of the suppliers of the fatal drugs.

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