Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina announced that a Pemberton Township drug dealer was sentenced today to 12 years in New Jersey state prison for causing the death of a customer to whom she sold fentanyl-laced heroin in 2017.
Shannon McGuigan, 36, must serve 85 percent of the term before becoming eligible for parole under the sentence handed down in Superior Court in Mount Holly by the Hon. John J. Burke III, J.S.C.
McGuigan was found guilty in March of 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).
In a separate case, McGuigan pled guilty today to a single count of cocaine possession, a third-degree offense. Judge Burke sentenced her to four years on that charge, to run concurrent with the other sentence.
“We appreciate the Court recognizing the seriousness of the defendant’s crime and we hope that a significant sentence like this one will give people pause about selling dangerous drugs to others,” Prosecutor Coffina said. “I commend the victim’s parents for their patience and staunch advocacy on behalf of their daughter throughout this lengthy prosecution. No parent should ever have to bury their child, but this victim’s mother rose above her obvious grief to deliver an incredibly gracious statement to the court, expressing both her extreme pain, and also hope, that the defendant will turn her life around. With this matter now concluded, we hope the victim’s family can finally begin to heal.”
The investigation began the morning of May 30, 2017, after the decedent, 25, was discovered in her Pemberton Township home by her mother. An autopsy performed by Burlington County Medical Examiner Dr. Ian Hood indicated the cause of death was due to heroin and fentanyl toxicity. The investigation revealed that the victim purchased drugs from McGuigan a short time before she fatally overdosed.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Laura Heisman. The investigation was conducted by the Pemberton Township Police Department. The lead investigator was retired Pemberton Township Police Lt. Brian Smith, who is now a Prosecutor’s Agent with the BCPO.