Authorities on Thursday announced the arrest of a South Plainfield man in the death of a Brick man to whom he is suspected of selling a lethal dose of the powerful painkiller fentanyl.
Jesse Hay, 25, faces charges under the state’s strict liability statute for the drug-induced death of Anthony Busby, 24, a Brick resident. Busby died Dec. 19, 2014 after Brick police were called to a home on Marilyn Drive for a report of a male who was found unresponsive, said Al Della Fave, spokesman for the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. Busby was pronounced dead at 7:18 p.m. – just about a half hour after the 6:47 p.m. 911 call – at the scene by a medical examiner from Newark-Beth Israel Medical Center over the phone.
Following a protocol put into place by Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato, an immediate investigation was started by the Brick Township Police Department, Ocean County Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Special Operations Group and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department CSI unit. The partnering agencies immediately processed the scene, Della Fave said, collecting all evidence of suspected narcotic activity and isolating evidence that could possibly lead to the dealer responsible for selling Busby the illegal narcotic.
Found at the scene were several white wax folds stamped with “730 Virus” in green ink and another ten wax folds stamped “Strike Dead” with the picture of the grim reaper in red and black ink.
Over the course of the following months, the partnering agencies, with assistance from the Edison Police Department, North Plainfield Police Department and the South Plainfield Police Department, would develop information identifying Hay as a suspect, said Della Fave. Indeed, the Ocean County Medical Examiner’s office found excessive levels of fentanyl in Busby’s system through autopsy results that were returned Dec. 20.
The Medical Examiner’s report also confirmed that the wax folds stamped “730 Virus” and “Strike Dead” both contained fentanyl, according to Della Fave.
Hay, who has been incarcerated continuously since his Dec. 23, 2014 arrest on the drug possession and distribution charges, was served his drug-induced death arrest warrant Thursday at 12:45 p.m. in the Middlesex County Jail by members of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit and Brick Township Police Department.
Della Fave said the prosecutor’s office has conducted 19 such investigations since Coronato became prosecutor in 2013, making the once-rarely used charge a central part of the battle against Ocean County’s heroin crisis. So far, six defendants have pled guilty to strict liability charges and two codefendants have pled guilty to drug charges in the 19 separate cases.