DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Investigators believe 28-year-old Antoin Thornton sold fentanyl-laced heroin to a 22-year-old man who overdosed March 18 at an apartment complex on Ashford Dunwoody Road. That crime left Thornton in the DeKalb County Jail without bond on May 9 charged with felony murder and trafficking heroin.
"Heroin and Fentanyl is just a deadly combination. There's no amount of those two that is safe. Even the smallest amount can be fatal and that's why he can be charged with felony murder," said assistant DeKalb County District Attorney Lance Cross.
During a news conference at Dunwoody Police Headquarters on Monday, Cross said authorities cannot disclose how they linked the drugs to the fatal overdose without compromising the case, but added the case evidence is strong.
"This is the first time we've made an arrest of a true non-user, someone who is truly selling heroin for profit and connected it to a deadly overdose. Generally, that can be difficult to prove," Cross said.
At the family’s request, Dunwoody Police have not released the name of the 22-year-old man who died after taking the opioids. Nearly 200 people die each day from a drug overdose in the United States and a large percentage of those deaths involve opioids.
"We hope this arrest sends a message that if you sell heroin or other opioids in Dunwoody and someone dies from an overdose, you will be held accountable," said Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan.
In the last six years, Dunwoody police officers have responded to more than 50 overdose incidence and 16 of those resulted in death, according to Dunwoody Police.
“Eight thousand Georgians have died from opioid overdoses in the last eight years, so I commend the DeKalb [County] prosecutors and the Dunwoody Police investigators for the work they did to make a case like this," said Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr.
While arresting Thornton on May 9, officers also took 30-year-old Daja Shaw into custody and charged her with trafficking, tampering with evidence and possession of marijuana.
"We're not targeting users or the people who are selling to keep up their own addiction. We're targeting the people who make a profit off of people struggling with the grips of heroin addiction up with their own addiction," said Cross.