A Somerset County man has been arrested for allegedly distributing fentanyl that resulted in four deaths and for distributing cocaine.

50-year-old Mauricio Gutierrez of Somerset made an appearance in Newark federal court of Thursday and was ordered detained.

Federal authorities say on June 24, 2022, Gutierrez distributed controlled substances containing fentanyl in at least two separate transactions.

The first individual to whom Gutierrez distributed fentanyl used it, along with two other individuals. Shortly thereafter the three victims were located in a vehicle that was parked outside an establishment in North Brunswick, New Jersey, and all three were unresponsive. Two victims were pronounced dead and the third victim died two days later. Law enforcement located a white powder, which was determined to contain fentanyl, inside the vehicle.

In a separate transaction, Gutierrez distributed fentanyl to another person, according to authorities, who was later located in Franklin Township. That person was found unresponsive and pronounced dead at the scene. Law enforcement located a white powder, which was determined to contain fentanyl, inside the vehicle.

Subsequent toxicology reports determined that the victims had lethal amounts of fentanyl in their blood.

On Sept. 27, 2023, law enforcement officials arrested Gutierrez after observing him engage in a hand-to-hand narcotics sale in Piscataway, New Jersey. The controlled substance that Gutierrez distributed tested positive for cocaine.

The charges of drug distribution resulting in death each carry a sentence of 20 years to life behind bars. The charge of distributing controlled substances carries up to two decades in prison. The three charges each carry a fine of up to $1 million.

The public is reminded that charges are accusations and all persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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