New Jersey Child Poisoned After Cleaning Uncle’s Fentanyl Lab, Prosecutors Say

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Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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A 12-year-old boy died of fentanyl poisoning on his school bus in New Jersey after his uncle forced him to clean a drug lab last month, according to prosecutors.

Troy Nokes, 35, was arrested Thursday and charged with 28 different offenses related to the February 1st death of his young nephew, according to a statement from Camden County prosecutor Grace C. MacAulay.

The local police department was called after Nokes’ nephew was found unresponsive on his school bus Jan. 24, the statement continued. His school nurse performed life-saving measures until the EMS team took the child to the hospital, according to the statement.

The child died in the hospital on Feb. 1, with his postmortem determining that he succumbed to injuries related to fentanyl intoxication, the statement noted. Nokes was accused of manufacturing fentanyl during the weekend prior to his nephew’s poisoning and allegedly forced the child to clean the paraphernalia used in Nokes’ lab. Witnesses told Camden Country that the child was not wearing gloves while inside the lab.

Camden Country also arrested Joanna Johnson for tampering with evidence and hindering Nokes’ apprehension by law enforcement. (RELATED: Police Say Six Spring Breakers Suffered Cardiac Arrest In Front Yard After Ingesting Fentanyl-Laced Cocaine)

Less than 0.007% of an ounce of fentanyl causes certain death in humans and is now ranked as the deadliest opioid, causing “almost half of all overdose deaths nationwide,” according to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics. Experts have noted that the best term to use when describing a large portion of deaths by fentanyl is “poisoning” rather than “overdose,” as victims do not intend to ingest the substance, according to CBC.

Nokes was charged with “first degree Aggravated Manslaughter, first degree Strict Liability Drug-Induced Death, first degree Maintaining a CDS Production Facility, second degree Employing a Juvenile in a Drug Distribution Scheme, six counts of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child, six counts of third degree Witness Tampering, one count of fourth degree Tampering with Evidence, two counts of third degree Hindering Apprehension, two counts of third degree Aggravated Assault, along with seven other related charges.”