Pair charged with providing drugs that led to fatal overdose

The two people who allegedly provided a Linden man with the drugs that killed him last summer are now criminally charged in connection with the man’s death, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Monday.

Alexandria Marcino, 24, of Clark and Joseph Colatrella, 26, of Elizabeth are charged with first-degree strict liability for a drug-induced death and two related third-degree drug offenses in connection with the fatal overdose suffered by 31-year-old Bruce Jirinec Jr. of Linden.

Jirinec was found dead in his home by a family member shortly before 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, August 6, 2015, and 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. A joint investigation involving the Union County Homicide Task Force and the Linden Police Department determined that Jirinec contacted Marcino regarding the drugs and acquired them from Colatrella mere hours before his death.

A multi-agency search for the two defendants culminated Friday afternoon 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.

Both defendants were lodged in Union County Jail on $75,000 bail.

First-degree crimes are commonly punishable by 10 to 20 years in state prison.

These charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.