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Press Release

U.S. Attorney and Onondaga County District Attorney Hold Roundtable Meeting with Police Commanders on Prosecuting Heroin Overdose Deaths

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York
Prosecutors Confer with Police on Investigating Drug Death Cases

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Federal and Onondaga County prosecutors held a Law Enforcement Executive Roundtable meeting today with local and New York State police agencies to discuss policies and procedures for investigating drug overdose deaths and prosecuting those responsible for them, announced United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian and Onondaga County District Attorney William J. Fitzpatrick.


The meeting was held in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York in Syracuse. Among the topics discussed were the elements of available criminal charges under federal and state law for distribution of a controlled substance that results in death or serious physical injury. Prosecutors, Chiefs of Police, and command level law enforcement supervisors discussed investigative techniques, evidence handling, coordination with federal law enforcement agencies, and consultation with prosecutors during the current opioid drug and heroin epidemic. Local agencies are the first responders for drug overdoses and their officers frequently administer Narcan (naloxone), an antidote that will temporarily counteract the effects of lethal opioid drug ingestion.  Local police agencies also spearhead criminal investigations of drug overdose deaths during the critical initial phase where evidence is gathered and witnesses interviewed.


Attendees heard a presentation from Onondaga County Medical Examiner Dr. Robert Stoppacher, whose office is vital to the investigation of homicide cases under both federal and state law.


In addition to the United States Attorney’s Office and the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office, command level executives from the following law enforcement agencies participated in today’s meeting:


United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

New York State Police

Syracuse Police Department

Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office

Town of Dewitt Police Department

Town of Manlius Police Department

Town of Cicero Police Department

Village of Baldwinsville Police Department

Town of Camillus Police Department

New York State University Police

Town of Geddes Police Department

Village of Liverpool Police Department

Village of Skaneateles Police Department

Village of North Syracuse Police Department

Village of Solvay Police Department


There will be further coordination between police and prosecutors on this important criminal justice/public health initiative in the future.

Updated November 22, 2016

Community Outreach
Drug Trafficking