DELAWARE CO. — A prosecutor in Delaware County is making a legal move in a drug overdose case to send a loud message to drug dealers in our state.
If a dealer sells drugs to someone who overdoses and dies, the dealer could face some stiff penalties and long prison time.
Joel David West, 27, faces a preliminary charge of dealing in a controlled substance, resulting in death.
The suspect allegedly sold methamphetamine to the victim for $15. The possible penalty, if found guilty, is up to 40 years in prison.
John "Jake" Adams, 26, died at his home in the 1800 block of Oakdale Drive. John Carter, who lived right down the street from him, think the level 1 felony charge is appropriate for the crime.
"They know what they are selling people could kill them. They may not have made them do it, but they are definitely contributing to it," Carter said. "I think it is great they are holding people accountable for it."
Chief Deputy Prosecutor, Zach Craig, said, "We want this viable statute to try to proceed to discourage people from trying to make a profit off vulnerable citizens."
This will be the second person to face the dealing resulting in death charge in Delaware County. The measure took effect in July 2018.
"It's impossible for these individuals if they really want to get clean and deal with their issues, if they continue to have individuals that put that poison right in front of them - they can't ever escape it," Chief Deputy Craig said. " Individuals who are doing this, we have to have these tough penalties on them. Something we can do to remove them from our community so addicts and people who want to do better, can deal with these issues and have a fair chance."
Although, everyone is not on board.
"It was his addiction. It was his choice to go buy them. No one else's choice," James Ramsey, a Yorktown resident, said. "This dealer should not be held accountable? He should be, but not 40 years. That's a long time."
Nevertheless, the law is on the books and carries a range of sentence from 20 to 40 years.
West is held without bond in the Delaware County Jail.
According to the Marion County Prosecutor's Office, no one has been charged with dealing a controlled substance resulting in death in this county.