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Man charged in connection with fatal overdose in Morris County

HANOVER TOWNSHIP, NJ (Morris County) – A Cedar Knolls man has been charged in connection with the fatal drug overdose death of a man who died on Feb. 16, 2023 in Hanover Township, according to Morris County Prosecutor Robert Carroll.

On Feb. 16, police responded to a residence located in the Whippany section of Hanover Township on a report of an unconscious man. The male victim, later identified as T.H., 28, was pronounced dead at the scene, Carroll said.

The Morris County Medical Examiner’s Office has certified the cause of T.H.’s death as combined toxicity of cocaine, fentanyl, and acetyl fentanyl, Carroll said.

Based on a subsequent investigation, it is alleged that Anthony Q. Dello-Russo, 26, of Cedar Knolls distributed controlled dangerous substances to T.H. on Feb. 15, 2023, in Hanover Township. It is further alleged that T.H.’s death resulted from his ingestion of the substances distributed by Dello-Russo, Carrolls aid.

Dello-Russo was charged on Dec. 26 with first-degree strict liability for drug-induced death. This statute provides that any person who manufactures, distributes, or dispenses any of a number of controlled dangerous substances is strictly liable for a death that results from the injection, inhalation, or ingestion of that substance, Carroll said.

This is a first-degree crime, which is punishable by up to 20 years in New Jersey State Prison and is subject to the 85 percent parole ineligibility requirements of the No Early Release Act, Carroll said.

In connection with the fatal overdose, Dello-Russo has also been charged with two counts of third-degree distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, and third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance, Carroll said.

Dello-Russo was previously charged on Dec. 8, 2023 with second-degree possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, third-degree possession of cocaine, second-degree possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, third-degree possession of marijuana; and third-degree money laundering. Those charges relate to the seizure of over one-half ounce of suspected cocaine, over five pounds of marijuana, and over $51,000 in cash from his residence, Carroll said.

In accordance with the Criminal Justice Reform Act, Dello-Russo has been detained in the Morris County Correctional Facility pending future court proceedings, Carroll said.

“Drug dealers should be on notice that we will not hesitate to charge them with the first degree Strict Liability Drug-Induced Death statute when the facts support the connection between the dealer and the death of their user/victim,” Carroll said.

Anyone that has information related to this investigation, is encouraged to call the Major Crimes Unit of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office at 973-285-6200.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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