Two Union County residents who provided a Linden man with the drugs that killed him in 2015 have admitted to the crime, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Wednesday.
Alexandria Marcino, 25, of Clark pleaded guilty to one count of strict liability for a drug-induced death and aggravated assault against a police officer for physically attacking a Union County Homicide Task Force detective during the course of the investigation. Joseph Colatrella, 27, of Elizabeth pleaded guilty to a single count of distribution of a controlled dangerous substance within 1,000 feet of a school zone.
The Homicide Task Force and Linden Police Department launched a joint investigation into this matter when the 31-year-old overdose victim was found dead in his home by a family member shortly before 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, August 6, 2015. Drug paraphernalia and narcotics were recovered at the scene.
The narcotics later were determined to have been acetyl fentanyl, a synthetic opioid similar to heroin, but far more potent. Investigators determined that the victim contacted Marcino regarding the drugs and acquired them from Colatrella mere hours before his death.
A multi-agency search for the two defendants ended last March in Woodbridge, with members of the Clark Police Department, Union County Police Department, and Union County Sheriff’s Office assisting Homicide Task Force detectives in locating Marcino and Colatrella and making the arrests.
The State will request state prison sentences of five and three years for Marcino and Colatrella, respectively, when they are sentenced March 31 before state Superior Court Judge Robert Kirsch.