MILLERSVILLE, Md. - Back in high school, Chris King wrestled at Mount Saint Joseph and achieved a national ranking, but when his parents found the 27-year-old unresponsive, lying on the floor of his bedroom in their Pasadena home back in January, his long battle with heroin had come to an end.
Detectives with the Anne Arundel County Heroin Task Force went to work on the case and determined King had met an alleged drug dealer at this Royal Farms store to purchase the Fentanyl-laced drug earlier that day.
Now, along with a series of drug charges, prosecutors plan to hold 37-year old Gabriel DelValle responsible for Chris King's death.
"Those drugs that he sold to him had fentanyl in it and we believe we can prove that ultimately led to the person's death,” said Lt. Ryan Frashure of the Anne Arundel County Police Department, “So, again, we consulted with the State's Attorney's Office, had several meetings with them and we were able to take the evidence we had and charge him with involuntary manslaughter or manslaughter charges."
This sign outside police headquarters in Millersville speaks for itself.
King's fatal overdose is one of 121 in the county this year, and to stem the tide, the task force is also targeting dealers like 23-year-old Robert Simpson.
Acting upon a tip, police raided Simpson's home here on Carver Road in Gambrills and found a stash of Fentanyl-laced pills with a street value of an estimated $46,000.
"Recovered from inside the house was over 6,000 Fentanyl pills that were disguised as Oxycontin pills. Along with that was over $8,000 in U.S. currency,” said Frashure, “This is a situation where this guy is certainly a drug dealer, knows the type of drug that he's dealing and we're certainly glad to get this stuff off the streets or even before it hits the streets."
Police say the message is clear---If you're dealing in death, you're going down.
"These individuals know how dangerous this substance is and they're taking advantage of people that have a weakness and have an addiction and we want to send a clear message that it's unacceptable,” said Frashure, “We're not going to have it here in the county and you're going to go to jail for a very long time if we can prove it."