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Local district attorney holds drugs dealers accountable amid rising overdose deaths – WSOC TV




CATAWBA COUNTY, North Carolina — Since the start of 2022, Catawba County deputies said they investigated 26 overdose deaths, many of which were linked to the powerful fentanyl.

Removing dangerous drugs from the streets and prosecuting traffickers is a challenge.

For three cases in the county, there are indictments for death by distribution of controlled substances. According to court documents, the drug that caused the death in these cases was fentanyl.

Julie Wright showed Channel 9’s Dave Faherty some of the latest photos of her niece, Brianna Culpepper. She said the 25-year-old was battling drug addiction but also trying to overcome her addiction after her life changed with a baby boy.

“He sees pictures. We talk about her. We do everything we can. We don’t want him to think she was bad. She didn’t know what was going to happen to her. She wanted to live,” Wright said.

After deputies responded to more than two dozen overdose deaths in the county this year, the sheriff’s office admits making an arrest after an overdose is difficult.

“It’s not just that the person in question died of a drug overdose, it’s that the drug they died from was purchased from a drug dealer in the same time frame that we can prove that the sale resulted in one fatality,” Captain Aaron said. Turk, with the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said they were using cellphone recordings and other investigative tools to establish a link. Prosecutors now have three indictments for death by distribution in Catawba County, including a case where a 17-year-old boy overdosed and died in Maiden.

Wright hopes other families won’t have to suffer like Culpepper’s family.

“It’s horrible. A nightmare, a total nightmare,” she said.

Faherty traveled to Caldwell County, where he was successfully convicted of death by cast, and learned that the person had been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

(WATCH BELOW: York Co. sheriff’s chemist says they see fentanyl more than any other drug)