LEONARDTOWN, Md. - Six people have been charged with murder for their connection to overdose deaths, officials announced in Leonardtown, Maryland on Wednesday.
St. Mary's County officials were joined by Gov. Larry Hogan to announce Marcell Blackiston, Christina Granados, Latece Greer, Tyreise Nelson, Desmond Sloan and Geoffrey Walter Uhall were being charged in separate indictments.
"It is my hope that these actions will serve as an example for prosecutors from one end of the state to the other," Hogan said.
Each suspect faces up to 50 years in prison after being charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter, and reckless endangerment, according to officials.
"The drug dealers have to pay the consequences. For $50, they do not mind killing our children, our wives, our fathers, our brothers and our sisters. This has got to stop," St. Mary's County State's Attorney Richard Fritz said.
Hogan said six people died from overdoses per day on average in Maryland and there had been 550 overdoses in the first three months of 2017. Of those overdoses, 372 were from fentanyl, according to Hogan.
"As the crisis evolves from opioids to heroin to fentanyl to car fentanyl, it continues to get more dangerous and kill more people," Hogan said. "Our response to this has to evolve and prevention and treatment are obviously two essential components, but we must also crack down on the criminals who are trafficking these dangerous substances and dealing in death."
Hogan noted that more people were overdosing in the state than were dying in car crashes and from guns combined.