BROWN COUNTY- Brown County took a new step forward in its fight against the opioid crisis.
For the first time, officials charged a man with dealing in a controlled substance resulting in death.
Last year, the Indiana legislature gave prosecutors a green light to charge a drug dealer with dealing in a controlled substance resulting in death.
“We have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a controlled substance was dealt. An individual passed away because of ingesting it and that controlled substance came from the dealer,” Brown County Prosecutor Ted Adams said.
Court documents detail Ryne Franks sold drugs to Christopher Dill, leading to him overdosing.
“We had a drug deal go down with a controlled substance and in this case, allegation being heroin and the individual that died from ingesting that drug ingested it from that dealer.”
Detectives found social media messages between the Dill and Franks showing a drug deal scheduled hours before Dill’s death in May.
Even though prosecutor Adams know these types of cases are tough to prosecute, he feels it’s a case worth fighting for.
“We’re finding that a lot of people start off almost in a party atmosphere or let’s just try this atmosphere and then it becomes something that they find is taking over them,” MRCI Program Director Iisha Wesley said.
Program Director for Minority Recovery Collective Inc. Iisha Wesley said recovery isn’t an easy journey and it’s up to the addict to want help.
“You can’t force anybody into recovery it has to be something in them that sparks the thought to say you know what I don’t think I want to do this anymore,” Wesley said.
Adams hopes cases like this on will lead to more prosecutors going after the dealer in overdose deaths.
“I encourage prosecutors to have the courage to tighten that timeline and the employ it,” Adams said.
Prosecutor Adams said within a 3-week period Brown County experienced 5 overdoses and 2 resulted in deaths including Dill. He thinks the county had a bad batch of heroin going around.
Franks is facing a level two felony charge and if found guilty he could serve 10 to 30 years in prison.
To find out about the programs offered by MRCI, click here.