NC man charged in overdose death tries to swallow baggie with cocaine during booking, sheriff says

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Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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SANFORD, N.C. (WTVD) -- Months after a man died from a drug overdose, the suspect connected to the death was charged in the investigation.

The Lee County Sheriff's office said Monday that the investigation started in January when deputies responded to a call about a death.

On Friday, the sheriff's office arrested 42-year-old Antonio Deangelo Heck of Robeson County. The sheriff's office said its investigation revealed that Heck supplied the narcotics that led to the deadly overdose. He was charged with death by distribution.

Deputies said while he was being booked at the magistrate's office, they noticed his speech changed and saw that he was trying to swallow a plastic bag with cocaine inside it.

Investigators persuaded Heck to spit it out, which they say he did. They then found that the bag contained 12 grams of cocaine, the sheriff's office said. Heck was subsequently charged with possession of a controlled substance on jail premises.

Heck was being held at the Lee County Jail with no bond.

Death by Distribution Law in NC

In the fall of 2023, North Carolina revised its Death by Distribution law (SB189). Under the revised bill, which treats death by distribution as a Class C felony, drug traffickers and people whose drugs result in others dying will face more serious jail time. It also makes charging those people easier, no longer requiring prosecutors to prove a transaction, just that the drugs were "delivered."

RELATED | Revised death by distribution law offers relief to victims' families

Advocates and law enforcement in the fight against opioids in North Carolina are calling a new piece of legislation a major victory.

SEE ALSO | NC law that punishes drug dealers not widely used despite increase in overdose deaths