Suspected drug dealer charged with murder after fentanyl-related death

Cassidy Gonzalez is now facing a charge of first-degree murder. If convicted, Gonzalez could face 25 years to life in prison.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2022
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For the first time in Fresno County, a person suspected of selling the pills that led to a fentanyl-related death has been charged with murder.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- For the first time in Fresno County, a person suspected of selling the pills that led to a fentanyl-related death has been charged with murder.

Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp says Jade Alexandra Dreith didn't just die from a drug overdose, she was murdered.

"She didn't plan to kill herself or anything like that. She was folding laundry, eating a snack and playing with her dog," said Jade's sister, Sage Dreith. "Fell asleep and never woke up."

21-year-old Cassidy Gonzalez is now facing a charge of first-degree murder.

"This is murder without using a firearm. The weapon is fentanyl," said Smittcamp. "They know that this pill can kill people and they continue to sell it."

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If convicted, Gonzalez could face 25 years to life in prison. 25-year-old Alejandro Laverde Nuno has been charged with being an accessory after the fact and could be sentenced to up to eight years in prison.

DA Smittcamp says her office has spent nine months doubling down on evidence to make sure the murder charge sticks.

"When people show a conscious disregard for human life, you can prove murder," she said. "I will file as many murder cases against drug dealers that I can."

Smittcamp says past fentanyl-related convictions have proven that if the two had been charged with only drug-related felonies, they would likely never see time in prison.

"With the help of this family, we were able to find evidence that we did not know existed," said Smittcamp.

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Sage Dreith says her sister, Jade knew the dangers of fentanyl, but she was made to believe that she was taking a painkiller that would relieve her chronic back pain.

"I am not going to allow her to have died in vain," said Sage.

Working with investigators was not easy for Jade's family. But because they did, the DA's office says this case will now send a message to every person transporting or selling drugs in Fresno County.

"It's not going to be the last case that we prosecute for murder in the County of Fresno," said Smittcamp.

DA Smittcamp also called on Governor Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers to make systematic changes that would hold dealers and suppliers accountable every time the drugs they sell cause a death.

This is not the first time a dealer or supplier has faced a murder charge for a fentanyl-related death. In California, it's been done in San Diego and Riverside Counties.

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