Trenton man who sold heroin that led to Howell resident’s overdose is indicted
Selling a batch of heroin that led to a Howell resident overdosing in May of last year leads to the four-count indictment of a Trenton man, announced the Monmouth County Prosecutors Office.
John R. Varra, 50, was found with an undisclosed quantity of heroin in his car following his arrest after police found the victim overdosed on the tainted drug where rescue efforts were unsuccessful.
Varra faces between 10 and 20 years in jail on charges of first degree Strict Liability for Drug-Induced Deaths and third degree Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance, in connection with the sale of heroin on May 1, 2017 that led to the overdose death of a 31-year old Howell Township man who passed away two days later.
He was also charged with third degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance and third degree of Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance with Intent to Distribute, as a result of being found in possession of heroin on the evening of May 3, 2017 where he was arrested hours after the Howell resident died.
On May 3, 2017, at around 12:25 a.m., Howell Police received a 911 call from a resident reporting that her 31-year old husband was unresponsive.
Police and medical personnel tried to revive the victim in his bedroom, but lifesaving efforts, including the administration of naloxone, were unsuccessful.
The victim was pronounced deceased at approximately 1:07 a.m.
Detectives from the Howell Township Police Department arrived shortly thereafter and began to aggressively investigate the incident.
The postmortem examination conducted by the Middlesex County Medical Examiner's Office indicated that the cause of the victim's death was "Acute Heroin Toxicity."
"We all realize that the opioid epidemic is a monumental challenge within our communities - many thanks to the Howell Township Police Department for vigorously investigating this overdose death, leading to the identification of the dealer and an Indictment in connection with this tragic death," Monmouth County Prosecutor Chris Gramiccioni said.
If convicted of first degree Strict Liability for Drug-Induced Death, Varra faces a minimum sentence of 10 years in a New Jersey state prison without parole and a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment, subject to the provisions of the "No Early Release Act" (NERA) requiring him to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release.
The crimes of third degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance, third degree Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Dangerous Substance and third degree Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance each carry a sentence of five to ten years imprisonment.
The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Christopher J. Decker, Director of the Office's Major Crimes Bureau.
Varra is represented by Joshua Hood, Esq. of Freehold.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.
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