SARASOTA COUNTY – A few grains of fentanyl or carfentanyl can lead to an overdose or even death. Dealers who traffic these dangerous substances in Sarasota and Manatee Counties could be charged with murder, and a new bill will make that even easier.

When it comes to Fentanyl and Carfentanyl dealers, Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight has a message.

“If individuals, the dealers, the traffickers, are going to find it necessary to deal this poison,” Knight said. “It’s like playing Russian Roulette with a gun, and if they’re going to pull the trigger and a gun goes off we’re going to charge them with murder.”

Knight says they are investigating opioid overdoses as homicides.

“It’s important to prove one that that substance is what created and caused the death,” Knight said. “And that we are able to through investigative means track back that this individual who is being charged was the one who dealt it to that person.”

Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Captain Todd Shear says many times those suffering from addiction are unaware they’re being sold the stronger fentanyl and carfentanyl.

“A lot of times 100 times fentanyl, a lot of times 100 percent carfentanyl,” Shear said. “So someone who thinks they can handle this particular dose in fact can’t handle that dose, it’s much more lethal to them and they end up passing.”

Sheriff Knight says dealers know how dangerous these drugs are.

“Knows that it has that potential to kill people,” Knight said. “Just like a gun will kill people, they know it. It’s in their hands just like a gun is in their hands. When they deliver it, and it causes a death, we’re going to charge them with murder.”

Captain Shear says come October 1st prosecuting dealers will be easier.

“House bill 477 is going to change some things for us,” Shear said. “And by making fentanyl and carfentanyl one of those substances that we can charge somebody y with murder with, and we will continue to look at every overdose case as if it were a homicide.”

Florida Senator Greg Steube was one of the lawmakers to introduce the bill to help get these drugs off the streets.

“If we can put the dealers behind bars,” Steube said. “And put them behind bars for a long time, then maybe that will solve the problem of all these people getting their hands on these drugs.”
Knight says putting them away might make other dealers think twice.

“The dealers were more aware of what’s going on. They’re just finding a way to make a profit,” Knight said. “They don’t care about the addicts, they don’t care if it kills people, so the message to the dealers and the traffickers, simply put in Sarasota County, if you deal it. You traffic it. It gets used and causes a death we’re going to charge you with murder.”

  • huckjam

    This epidemic happened when they cracked down on the pill mills instead of concentrating on getting people help, all the junkies moved to lethal heroin because you guys focus on arresting people instead of helping them. Problem is the addicts still need the dope whether you arrest the dealer or not so when you took away all the pills you didn’t stop any junky from getting high you just boosted the price from $10 to $50 a pill and made the dealers rich and made alot more people start dealing. The junkies eventually couldn’t afford it anymore since they still need the dope no matter what the cost,and moved to heroin and the worst part is these are kids that had never used a needle and would’ve never even thought about heroin before until the were put in a situation where there was nothing left but heroin and nowhere to get help unless you have 15k for a rehab program. If you’re 3 days sick and you can’t find pills but there is something right in front of you for 1/8 the cost thate 10 times the potency your eventually gonna give in to stop the pain. You cops and legislators created this mess by not listening to very smart people who said the same thing I’m saying now and look where we are. These junkies won’t stop doing dope unless they get help and they can’t get help until it’s availible and $500 a day for profit rehab centers don’t help anything if nobody can afford them unless their parents are loaded. When are you gonna a learn that you can’t arrest yourself out of a drug problem? Especially one that you created by trying to arrest yourself out of in the first place? Put this money toward helping the people that need help to get clean not on guns and bullshit rules that you don’t think about the consequences of, the money will go much farther than arresting junkies and throwing them in a prison full of drugs.