BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - In the wake of the Nation's deadly opioid crisis, law enforcement is evaluating the most effective way to nab those behind the sale of the drugs.
"We've really made an effort to change the mindset of the first responders and get them to treat the overdose scene as a crime scene," said U.S. Attorney James Kennedy. "If we can show death results from the person that died of the drugs they provided, that person can be charged with a crime. They will face 20 to life in prison."
Kennedy says his office is now prosecuting more drug dealers through text messages and trails found on an overdose victim's phone.
"Many times these transactions are set up through phone number and text message," Kennedy said.
It was that tactic that led federal agents to Brennen Bryant in early May. Federal agents say Bryant sold fentanyl to an Orchard Park victim who then died of an overdose.
"It really is essentially a computer...a treasure trove of evidence," said Kennedy of cell phones used to track down dealers.
Police are not just looking at texts, but also calls and social media messages. Kennedy says his office has been able to catch more than a dozen drug dealers using cell phones alone, and are able to prosecute the overdose crime as a homicide.
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