ROCKLAND COUNTY, NY – Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Frank A. Tarentino III, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), and Tom Walsh, the Rockland County District Attorney, announced today an Indictment charging JUSTIN TURNICK with distributing fentanyl that resulted in death or serious bodily injury to five victims between February 2020 and April 2022 in Rockland County, New York. TURNICK was arrested on these charges this morning and will be presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Victoria Reznik this afternoon.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Fentanyl is one of the foremost crises the United States faces today, as the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18 to 49. The fentanyl epidemic is lethally perpetuated by, among others, dealers like Justin Turnick who allegedly knowingly sell a drug that can be fatal to their customers. As alleged, Justin Turnick was well aware of the dangers of the poison he peddled as he had witnessed three of his victims overdose before his own eyes, but he continued to distribute the drug anyway. Turnick’s arrest re-emphasizes our efforts to prosecute and dismantle the entirety of the fentanyl supply chain and to take this poison off the streets of our communities.”
DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank A. Tarentino III said: “The DEA renamed overdoses to poisonings for one simple reason – drug traffickers are intentionally lacing all drugs with fentanyl, making today’s street drugs more lethal than ever. Fentanyl is responsible for killing more and more Americans at unprecedented rates. These six poisonings, including two deaths, allegedly linked to Turnick, underscore the devastation fentanyl traffickers have brought into our homes and exemplify law enforcement’s pursuit to bring those responsible to justice. I applaud the tireless work by our law enforcement partners, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and the DEA Westchester Resident Office Task Force.”
Rockland County District Attorney Tom Walsh said: “Today’s indictment is an example of local and federal agencies working together to stem the tide of fatal fentanyl overdose deaths. My office, working with the New York Field Office of the DEA, is investigating and arresting the fentanyl dealers who are devasting our community. Fentanyl is killing people from all walks of life, every demographic and every ethnicity. In 2021, Rockland County reported 70 overdose deaths. That number is completely unacceptable. I commend the hard work of the Rockland County District Attorney’s Drug Task Force, the DEA, and the prosecutors of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.”
According to the allegations in the Indictment:
At all times relevant to the Indictment, TURNICK engaged in the regular distribution of narcotics to members of his community in Rockland County, New York, including his friends, partners, and acquaintances. In particular, TURNICK knowingly distributed, among other narcotics, fentanyl — a deadly and highly potent opioid — in various forms, including fentanyl that had been packaged into pills, pure fentanyl, and fentanyl-laced powder.
TURNICK repeatedly distributed fentanyl despite knowing how dangerous the drug is. Between approximately February 2020 and April 2022, TURNICK’s fentanyl distribution was responsible for at least six overdoses, four of which TURNICK personally observed. The victims were between the ages of 19 and 24 at the time of their overdoses. Two victims died as a result of consuming fentanyl provided by TURNICK.
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JUSTIN TURNICK, 25, of Congers, New York, is charged with two counts of narcotics distribution resulting in the deaths of Victim-1 and Victim-2, and four counts of narcotics distribution resulting in serious bodily injury to Victim-3, Victim-4 (who overdosed twice), and Victim-5. Each of these counts carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The minimum and maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by a judge.
Mr. Williams praised the outstanding work of the DEA’s Westchester Resident Office, the Clarkstown Police Department, and the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office. He also thanked the Ramapo Police Department, the Westchester County Police Department, the Yonkers Police Department, the Putnam County Sherriff’s Department, the Rockland County Sherriff’s Office, and the Orangetown Police Department for their support and assistance in this matter. Mr. Williams noted that the investigation is ongoing.
The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ryan W. Allison and Kathryn Wheelock are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. Read the full press release here