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Alleged Tampa Drug Dealer Faces Third-Degree Murder Charges

In an unusual case, an individual described as a "known drug dealer" by Tampa police has been charged in the February 2012 death of a 21-year-old man.

According to police reports, the deceased was found in his house. Law enforcement officers had received a report of a "non-responsive adult male in the home." Based on their observations, it appeared the individual had died of a drug overdose.

Toxicology reports and an autopsy confirmed their suspicions, showing the individual overdosed on OxyContin, a type of oxycodone. In these situations, it is unusual for the individual who allegedly sold the drugs to be charged with murder.

In this situation, though, the police determined a 22-year-old man had sold the drugs to the deceased the night before he passed away. The alleged drug dealer was arrested shortly after a warrant was issued, as he was wearing a court-ordered GPS device. He had been ordered to wear the GPS device because of prior narcotics charges.

The 22-year-old was charged with delivery of a controlled substance and third-degree murder. The murder charge is unusual, as it is typically difficult for prosecutors to show the person died because he or she took drugs purchased from a specific individual. Merely showing the accused sold the particular drug to the deceased does not necessarily prove the individual died after taking those drugs, as he could have purchased the same drugs from other sources as well.

When an individual faces such serious charges, consulting with a skilled criminal defense attorney can ensure his or her rights are protected.

Source: Carrollwood-Northdale Patch, "'Known Drug Dealer' Arrested in Carrollwood Man's Death," Sherri London, August 2, 2012.

Our firm handles situations similar to the one described in this post. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our Tampa criminal defense page.

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