WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Law enforcement agencies in Trumbull County are taking the war on drugs to a new level, now treating every over dose death as a homicide. Some of the first charges were filed Friday as a result.
Maurice Bryant, 27, was arraigned Friday morning on charges of trafficking, corrupting another with drugs and involuntary manslaughter after investigators say he sold a fatal dose of Fentanyl to 24-year-old Megan Fitzgerald five months ago.
Craig Liebel, 25, was also in court facing trafficking charges. Investigators cannot connect him to the Fitzgerald case, but he was with Bryant during several controlled purchases.
Fitzgerald is one of the more than 40 overdose deaths in the county so far this year – a number significantly higher than in 2014.
“We’re absolutely excited that we got the secret indictments and were able to give this family some closure on her death,” said Sheriff Thomas Altiere.
From March 17 to April 20 2015, a total of seven Trumbull County residents died of fentanyl related drug overdose. And now with a more pro-active approach, law enforcement is hoping to prosecute those responsible for providing the victims with the drugs that led to their deaths.
“What was different in Megan’s case from some of the other ones is that there was evidence there that could quickly give us some leads to follow up on, unlike others where we have to work a little harder,” said Captain Jeff Orr, TAG Law Enforcement Task Force.
Altiere said they are expecting more indictments to be handed down in connection to this case.