Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and New Jersey State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan announced that a 35-year-old Bass River Township drug dealer has been charged with causing the death of a customer who overdosed on fentanyl earlier this year.
Dolores Cespedes, of the 300 block of Ash Road, was charged with Strict Liability for Drug-Induced Death (First Degree), Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Third Degree), Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance with Intent to Distribute (Third Degree), and Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Third Degree).
Cespedes was taken into custody without incident on Tuesday morning in Bass River. She is being held at the Atlantic County Justice Facility, which houses Burlington County’s female defendants, pending a detention hearing tomorrow in Superior Court. The case will then be prepared for presentation to a Burlington County Grand Jury for possible indictment.
The investigation began after New Jersey State Police troopers from the Tuckerton Station responded to a call for medical assistance at a residence on County Road 542 in Bass River Township on February 16, 2020.
Upon arrival, they discovered the body of Michael Kramer on a bathroom floor with drug paraphernalia nearby. An autopsy performed by Burlington County Medical Examiner Dr. Ian Hood determined that Kramer’s death was caused by fentanyl toxicity.
Cespedes is being prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Jeremy Lackey. The investigation was conducted by the New Jersey State Police.
The arrest of Cespedes marks the fourth development in the last four weeks in criminal cases involving fatal overdoses.
On August 20, David Bender, 27, of Delran was charged with Strict Liability for Drug-Induced Death (First Degree) and Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Third Degree) for the fatal overdose of a 38-year-old Riverside man in late 2018. His case is being prepared for presentation to a Grand Jury for possible indictment.
On August 21, Terrance D. Walker, 38, of Pemberton Township, pled guilty to Strict Liability for Drug-Induced Death (First Degree) after admitting that he sold fentanyl-laced heroin to a 21-year-old Pemberton Township woman who overdosed in May 2019. He faces eight years in New Jersey state prison when sentenced next month.
On September 14, Daniel Waterfield, 55, of Lawnside, Camden County, was sentenced to eight years in New Jersey state prison for dumping the body of a woman who had fatally overdosed in his vehicle on the side of a Southampton Township road in late 2018. A jury found Waterfield guilty in March 2020 of Desecrating Human Remains (Second Degree).
All persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.