"Drug dealers should be aware that if they sell drugs that cause the deaths of others, they will be be charged with murder," said Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner in a press release.

George Stokes - Photo: Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office

Those words are in reference to 41-year-old George Stokes, who was indicted on 29 charges last week, including the following:

  • First degree Leader of a Narcotics Trafficking Network
  • 3 counts first degree Drug Induced Death Strict Liability
  • 6 counts Third degree Possession with Intent to Distribute CDS, Fentanyl
  • 5 counts Third degree Possession with Intent to Distribute CDS, Fentanyl within 1,000 feet of school property
  • 2 counts Third degree Possession with Intent to Distribute CDS within 1,000 feet of school property
  • 3 counts Third degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS, Fentanyl
  • 2 counts Third degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS, Fentanyl within 1,000 feet of school property
  • Second degree distribution of a CDS, Fentanyl within 500 feet of a public building
  • 4 counts First degree Operating a Drug Manufacturing Facility
  • Second degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon without a Permit
  • Second degree Certain Persons Not to Have a Weapon

The county prosecutor's office says,

Individual investigations into each of the three drug related deaths was undertaken by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit. After months of investigation, it was concluded that the fatal drugs in each case—specifically, fentanyl—were distributed by Stokes as part of a narcotics trafficking operation he led in Atlantic City throughout 2017. It was also discovered that he maintained multiple CDS manufacturing premises in Atlantic City and Hamilton Township for the production and packaging of the drugs, which included heroin and fentanyl. Stokes employed as many as ten individuals in his operation, some of whom are also charged with playing a role in distributing the fatal drugs.

The crime of “Leader of a Narcotics Trafficking Network” carries a presumptive sentence of life in prison. The counts for strict liability homicide for drug-induced death each carry a maximum of 20 years under the No Early Release Act. The manufacturing facility counts each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, ten of which must be served without the possibility of parole.

A detention hearing was scheduled for this morning at the County Courthouse in Mays Landing.