FREEHOLD – Today, a Trenton man was charged with selling drugs that led to the death of a Howell Township resident in March of this year, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Christopher McQueen, 24, of Tyler Street in Trenton, is charged with first degree Strict Liability for Drug-Induced Deaths, third degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance and third degree Unlawful Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance. The charges stem from the sale of a heroin and fentanyl mixture to a 21-year-old man who overdosed on the substance during the early morning hours of March 8, 2017.
McQueen’s victim, Todd Cogar, was found by family members unresponsive on the morning of March 8, 2017. Lifesaving efforts, including the administration Narcan, failed to revive the victim. He was pronounced dead at approximately 9:30 a.m.
Responding officers from the Howell Township Police Department recovered some of the heroin and fentanyl mixture that caused the overdose. Officers commenced a thorough investigation to determine and confirm the source of the deadly substance. With the assistance of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Howell officers determined that McQueen had sold the lethal substance to the victim during the evening of March 7, 2017, at a motel on Route 1 in Lawrence Township.
Prosecutor Gramiccioni praised the work and dedication of the Howell Township Police Department and noted the cooperation of both the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office and the FBI. He warned, “the opioid epidemic remains one of the biggest challenges facing our communities. Often, the drug addict is not even aware that he has been sold fentanyl, a substance that is 50 times more potent than heroin. It is imperative that we do everything possible to help those who have fallen prey to the lure of highly addictive opiates such as heroin. I will continue to bring the fight to all who profit from this crisis.”
If convicted of first degree Strict Liability for Drug-Induced Deaths, McQueen faces a minimum sentence of 10 years in a New Jersey state prison without parole and a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment, subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA) requiring him to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release. The crimes of third degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance and third degree Unlawful Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance each carry a sentence of five to ten years imprisonment.
McQueen is lodged in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution pending his first appearance.
The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Matthews. Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.