SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The Placer County District Attorney's Office confirmed what is believed to be the first murder conviction of a fentanyl dealer in California.
"Fentanyl is everywhere and it's deadly," said Placer County District Attorney, Morgan Gire, just weeks ago sending out a warning to drug dealers. "If they choose to continue their behavior and sell and kill the consequences will increase and they will be severe."
On Friday, the DA's office a 21-year-old man has been convicted of second-degree murder in connection with the death of a 15-year-old girl who overdosed in Roseville last summer.
"This conviction could be a watershed moment in the war on fentanyl," said Steven Clark, legal analyst and former Santa Clara County District Attorney.
"The fact that there was a conviction sends a message to the people dealing fentanyl you could pay for being in jail for the rest of your life," said Clark, noting the key to these cases is proving the dealer knew they were selling fentanyl and that it's deadly.
"And what the prosecution will say is anyone dealing fentanyl has a reckless disregard for human life and that's the key to getting a second-degree murder conviction," said Clark. "You will now see more and more of these cases being brought because the traditional drug laws have not been enough to stop people from selling fentanyl and it's a national health crisis."
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San Francisco's District Attorney clear her office is ready to hold drug dealers accountable for murder.
"The lethality of fentanyl presents new and unprecedented risks to our community, and we must do everything in our power to hold drug dealers accountable to help save lives," said San Francisco District Attorney, Brooke Jenkins, in a statement in September. "We have to send a strong message in the community and in the courtroom that we will not stand by and allow dealers to kill innocent people and those suffering from addiction."
And, for those with loved ones caught in the crisis the conviction is offering some hope in getting drug dealers off the streets.
"They're preying on vulnerable people. One, people who are addicted to drugs, people who need drugs and then, two you have a subset of dealers who are preying on kids and children on SnapChat," said Placer County resident, Tammy Morgan, whose son is now on the streets of San Francisco addicted to Fentanyl.
"He's doing drugs daily, he's caught up in a devastation and it's heartbreaking because it's slowly killing him."
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