Charge Filed Against Cedar Knolls Man in Connection with Fatal Drug OD

Published on December 27, 2023

Morris County Prosecutor Robert Carroll, Chief of Detectives Robert McNally, and Hanover Township Police Chief Michael Loock announce the filing of a first-degree Strict Liability for Drug-Induced Death charge against Anthony Q. Dello-Russo, age 26, of Cedar Knolls (Hanover), New Jersey.  The charge arises from a fatal drug overdose which occurred in Whippany (Hanover), New Jersey in February 2023.

On February 16, 2023, law enforcement responded to a residence in Whippany on a report of an unconscious male. The male victim, later identified as T.H., age 28, was pronounced deceased on scene. The Morris County Medical Examiner’s Office has certified the cause of T.H.’s death as combined toxicity of cocaine, fentanyl, and acetyl fentanyl.

Based on subsequent investigation, it is alleged that Dello-Russo distributed controlled dangerous substances to T.H. on February 15, 2023, in Hanover. It is further alleged that T.H.’s death resulted from his ingestion of the substances distributed by Dello-Russo.

Dello-Russo has been charged with first degree Strict Liability for Drug-Induced Death in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-9 on December 26, 2023. This statute provides that any person who manufactures, distributes, or dispenses any of a number of controlled dangerous substances is strictly liable for a death that results from the injection, inhalation, or ingestion of that substance. This is a first-degree crime, which is punishable by up to twenty (20) years in New Jersey State Prison and is subject to the eighty-five (85) percent parole ineligibility requirements of the No Early Release Act. In connection with the fatal overdose, Dello-Russo has also been charged with two counts of third degree Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance, and third degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance.

Dello-Russo was previously charged on December 8, 2023 with second degree Possession of Cocaine with the Intent to Distribute; third degree Possession of Cocaine; second degree Possession of Marijuana with the Intent to Distribute; third degree Possession of Marijuana; and third degree Money Laundering.  Those charges relate to the seizure of over one-half ounce of suspected cocaine, over five pounds of marijuana, and over $51,000 in cash from Dello-Russo’s residence.     

In accordance with the Criminal Justice Reform Act, Dello-Russo has been detained in the Morris County Correctional Facility pending future court proceedings.

Multiple law enforcement agencies contributed to this investigation, including the Hanover Township Police Department, Morris County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit and Special Enforcement Unit.

Prosecutor Carroll said, “Drug dealers should be on notice that we will not hesitate to charge them with the first degree Strict Liability Drug-Induced Death statute when the facts support the connection between the dealer and the death of their user/victim.”

If anyone has any information related to this investigation, they are encouraged to call the Major Crimes Unit of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office at 973-285-6200. 

A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. Despite these accusations, the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until he has been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Media inquiries concerning this press release should be directed to [email protected].

Tagged as: