MAYS LANDING- On February 1, 2018, an Atlantic County Grand Jury handed up an indictment of a Mays Landing man for 3 strict liability homicides, drugs and weapons charges, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner announced.
“Drug dealers should be aware that if they sell drugs that cause the deaths of others, they will be charged with murder,” said Atlantic County Prosecutor, Damon G. Tyner.
George Stokes, 41, is indicted on 29 charges, including the following:
- First degree Leader of a Narcotics Trafficking Network
- 3 counts first degree Drug Induced Death Strict Liability
- 6 counts Third degree Possession with Intent to Distribute CDS, Fentanyl
- 5 counts Third degree Possession with Intent to Distribute CDS, Fentanyl within 1,000 feet of school property
- 2 counts Third degree Possession with Intent to Distribute CDS within 1,000 feet of school property
- 3 counts Third degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS, Fentanyl
- 2 counts Third degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS, Fentanyl within 1,000 feet of school property
- Second degree distribution of a CDS, Fentanyl within 500 feet of a public building
- 4 counts First degree Operating a Drug Manufacturing Facility
- Second degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon without a Permit
- Second degree Certain Persons Not to Have a Weapon
Individual investigations into each of the three drug related deaths was undertaken by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit. After months of investigation, it was concluded that the fatal drugs in each case—specifically, fentanyl—were distributed by Stokes as part of a narcotics trafficking operation he led in Atlantic City throughout 2017. It was also discovered that he maintained multiple CDS manufacturing premises in Atlantic City and Hamilton Township for the production and packaging of the drugs, which included heroin and fentanyl. Stokes employed as many as ten individuals in his operation, some of whom are also charged with playing a role in distributing the fatal drugs.
The crime of “Leader of a Narcotics Trafficking Network” carries a presumptive sentence of life in prison. The counts for strict liability homicide for drug-induced death each carry a maximum of 20 years under the No Early Release Act. The manufacturing facility counts each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, ten of which must be served without the possibility of parole.
The State has moved to detain Stokes on these charges pending trial. A detention hearing will be heard by the Hon. Benjamin Podolnick, J.S.C., on Wednesday morning in Courtroom 4, at the Mays Landing Criminal Courthouse.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office and the Atlantic City Police Department. Assistant Prosecutor Rick McKelvey represents the state.
***These charges are merely an accusation and not proof of guilt. In all criminal cases, a charged defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.***
Anyone with information involving serious crimes is asked to call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 or go to the Prosecutor’s Office Web site at https://www.acpo.org/tips.html and provide information by filling out the form anonymously on the Submit a Tip page. People can also call Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234 or 1-800-658-8477 (TIPS) or visit the Crime Stoppers Website at http://www.crimestoppersatlantic.com/. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those who commit crimes in Atlantic County.