What to Know
- Man who allegedly distributed fentanyl-laced crack cocaine that killed three, sent others to the hospital in single day pleaded guilty
- George Rayford, 39 and of Rahway, NJ, pleaded guilty Monday to three counts of strict liability for a drug-induced death, a 1st-degree crime
- Union County prosecutors will recommend Rayford, 39, receive a 13-year state prison term when he's sentenced March 15
A man who allegedly distributed fentanyl-laced crack cocaine that killed three people and sent numerous others to the hospital on a single day has admitted his role in the deaths.
Union County prosecutors say George Rayford, of Rahway, pleaded guilty Monday to three counts of strict liability for a drug-induced death, which is a first-degree crime. They will recommend Rayford, 39, receive a 13-year state prison term when he's sentenced March 15. He must serve at least 85 percent of his prison sentence before the possibility of parole under New Jersey’s No Early Release Act.
Authorities say Rayford distributed the deadly quantities of drugs from his home on Dec. 22, 2017. They say two women and a man died that day after overdosing, while an unknown number of others were treated at hospitals following overdoses.
Rayford was arrested in February 2018. Three months later, a Union County grand jury handed up a 13-count indictment against him.
Prosecutors say that fentanyl is a growing drug trend. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid many degrees of magnitude more powerful than heroin, was found in the toxicology of fewer than 20 percent of Union County’s fatal overdose victims in 2015, but that figure jumped to more than 70 percent in 2017, prosecutors say, adding that this case marked one of the first times local law enforcement encountered the drug mixed with cocaine.