Maryland officials charge accused dealers in drug overdose deaths

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Authorities in southern Maryland have charged six accused drug dealers with murder in connection to six drug overdose deaths in St. Mary’s County.

Gov. Larry Hogan attended a news conference on Wednesday in Leonardtown, Maryland, where local authorities in St. Mary’s County announced the indictments.

The charges include second-degree murder, manslaughter, reckless endangerment and drug-related charges, according to the county’s Sheriff’s Office. Two others were previously indicted on charges stemming from the overdose deaths of two more victims, officials said.

The victims overdosed on drugs such as heroin, fentanyl and carfentanil.

The Republican governor says investing in prevention and treatment can only work if the state eliminates the threat posed by drug traffickers across the state.

Hogan noted that more than 2,000 people died from overdoses last year.

Last week, the state health department released numbers that show fatal drug overdoses in Maryland continue to climb at an alarming rate.

From January through March, there were 550 overdose-related deaths in the state. That’s a 37-percent increase over the 401 overdose-related deaths in the same period last year.

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