DEA launches initiative in Newark to combat drug-related violence and overdoses

Newark will be one of 34 locations nationwide where the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will launch its newest initiative and attempt to combat the rising rates of drug-related violence and overdose deaths through the country.

The initiative, called Operation Overdrive, utilizes an approach driven by data and intelligence to identify and attempt to dismantle criminal drug networks operating in areas with the highest rates of violence and overdoses. The implementation of this initiative in Essex County is the result of it now accounting for the most suspected drug-related deaths in NJ in 2021. Newark, specifically, was chosen because of the 4% increase in violent crimes in 2021 compared to 2020.

DEA Administrator Anne Milgram was quoted saying, “DEA will bring all it has to bear to make our communities safer and healthier, and to reverse the devastating trends of drug-related violence and overdoses plaguing our nation.” The goal is devote resources to the areas of the country where they will have the highest impact, in particular, communities where criminal drug networks are doing the most damage.

According to the data, the majority of criminal drug networks engage in gun violence and sell synthetic drugs (fentanyl or methamphetamine), which seem to be the most lethal.  “The gravity of these threats requires a data-driven approach to pinpoint the most dangerous networks threatening our communities, and leveraging our strongest levers across federal, state, and local partners to bring them down,” said Milgram. For more information, see the article published on TAPintoNewark here.

Although safety is the goal of this initiative, the increase will likely result in more arrests for drug and weapons offenses. For instance, in the State of NJ, Strict Liability for a Drug Induced Death is a crime of the First Degree and carries exposure to a jail sentence between 10 and 20 years in NJ State Prison. Being armed with a weapon while in the course of selling drugs is a crime of the (“drugs and gun” law) Second Degree and mandates a consecutive sentence.

A conviction of any nature can have devastating consequences. If you or someone you know is facing serious drug or weapons charges, having an attorney who will be dedicated to fighting for your rights is critical. Contact Alissa D. Hascup, Esq. 24/7 for a free initial consultation. She will work unremittingly to ensure that your freedom is protected.