Friday, June 10, 2016

Steuben DA to pursue stiffer charges in overdose deaths

BATH – A joint law enforcement initiative in Steuben County will now investigate drug overdose related deaths as potential crimes.
County District Attorney Brooks Baker said the initiative includes local, county and state law officials, and is in response to a recent rash of drug overdose related deaths in Steuben.
“The goal is to find those responsible for bringing deadly drugs into our communities, and, where possible, to hold them criminally responsible for their actions,” Baker said.
In the past, “overdose-related” fatalities in Steuben have been treated as unattended deaths, which are then investigated by the Monroe County Coroner.
The new joint investigation plan directs “first-on-scene” responders to identify the incident as a possible overdose, then notify a supervisor. The supervisor will contact the appropriate investigative units and the DA’s office for further action.
The investigation would involve traditional criminal investigators and forensics, and include members of the county DA Drug Initiative to help identify known drugs, trends, and suspects from all the information available.
If the evidence collected warrants it, criminal charges will be pursued, Baker said.
Baker urged anyone with information regarding illegal drug sales, use or related deaths to call the anonymous Sheriff’s Tip Line at (844) 378-4847 or to call the DA’s Office at (607) 664-2474.
The joint initiative is the first of its kind in the state, and includes the state Police, the county Sheriff’s Department, the Corning and Hornell City police departments, and the Bath, Addison, Canisteo, Cohocton and Wayland Village police departments.