Strict Liability for Drug-Induced Death Charge Against Budd Lake Man


Morris County Prosecutor’s Office announced the filing of a first-degree Strict Liability for Drug-Induced Death charge against John P. Rowe, age 30, of Budd Lake, NJ. The charge arises from a fatal drug overdose that occurred in Mount Olive in September of last year.

On September 22, 2021, law enforcement responded to the Days Inn in Mount Olive on reports of an unconscious male. The male victim, identified as G.B., age 19, was transported to the hospital and pronounced dead the next day, September 23.

The Morris County Medical Examiner’s Office certified the cause of G.B.’s death as fentanyl toxicity.

Subsequent investigations revealed that John P. Rowe distributed fentanyl on September 21, 2021, in Morristown, NJ. Continually, it is alleged that G.B.’s death resulted from his ingestion of the fentanyl distributed by Rowe.

John P. Rowe has been charged with Strict Liability for Drug-Induced Death – this statute provides that any person who manufactures, distributes, or dispenses any of a number of controlled substances is strictly liable for a death that results from the injection, inhalation, or ingestion of that substance. This first-degree crime is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and subject to the 85% parole ineligibility requirements of the No Early Release Act.

In connection with this investigation, Rowe was previously charged with Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance with the intent to distribute, and Possession and Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Dangerous Substance.

Rowe has been detained in the Morris County Correctional Facility pending court proceedings.

Prosecutor Carroll said, “Drug dealers should be on notice that we will not hesitate to charge them with the first-degree Strict Liability Drug-Induced Death statute when the facts support the connection between the dealer and the death of their user/victim. Dealers of deadly Fentanyl should pay special attention as they are dealing lethal substances often to unknowing consumers who may overdose.”

If anyone has any information related to this investigation, they are encouraged to call the Major Crimes Unit of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office at 973-285-6200.

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