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Lower Swatara Township man charged with three counts of drug delivery resulting in death

Posted 10/18/17

The Lower Swatara Township Police Department charged James Frederick Newman 63, also known as “Chico,” with three counts of drug delivery resulting in death, on …

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Lower Swatara Township man charged with three counts of drug delivery resulting in death

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A 63-year-old Lower Swatara Township man has been charged in the drug-related deaths of three people.

The Lower Swatara Township Police Department charged James Frederick Newman, 63, also known as “Chico,” with three counts of drug delivery resulting in death, on Wednesday, Oct. 18. 

Newman, of the 100 block of C Lane in Lower Swatara Township, was charged after an 11-month joint investigation between the Lower Swatara Township Police Department,  the Criminal Investigation Division of the Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office and the Harrisburg Police Department. 

“He’s not your typical person you would see in this type of crime,” Lower Swatara police Detective Robert Appleby said. “It goes to show you it can be anybody.”

Two of the deaths occurred in Lower Swatara Township, in April 2017 and in May 2017, and one death occurred in Harrisburg in November 2016.

One Lower Swatara Township death was from acute fentanyl toxicity, Appleby said. The other was from morphine, which can be a byproduct in the blood from heroin use. One was in the Brookside trailer park, and the other in the Rosedale neighborhood.

Appleby said the police investigation found links to the same person. His department put information out to other departments, and the Criminal Investigation Division responded, leading to the investigation and arrest.

Newman was arraigned on the charges and bail was denied as he is considered a threat to the community and a flight risk, according to court documents. Newman is in Dauphin County Prison with a preliminary hearing scheduled for Nov. 2 before District Judge Michael Smith.

“We can’t understand with all the deaths that are out there that people will still say, ‘Hey, I’m going to try heroin,” Appleby said. “I always hoped that would scare a lot of potential users out of even starting.”

Authorities are “astonished at the number of deaths from drug overdoses we were seeing,” he said, but it’s not unique in Lower Swatara. Appleby said in talking to other police, it’s happening all over.

Appleby said he doesn’t have the answers on how to stop the epidemic.

“A lot of it is education, educating kids as they are younger and making them aware of the dangers, sharing stories of real-life death and telling them how serious it is,” he said.

The dangers of taking heroin are increasing, he said, because of the strength of some drugs.

“If you do this, you may actually die. It’s not unlikely that you’re going to die,” he said.

He said because police are getting better at gathering evidence in cases such as these, it is becoming easier to file charges.

“It’s nice to feel like we’re winning some battles in this war,” he said.

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