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May 26, 2016 2:29 PM

NH AG's office to prosecute suspected dealer in connection with fatal fentanyl overdose

The number of heroin-related deaths is on the rise in New Hampshire, as are deaths connected to the use of the deadly drug fentanyl.

The Attorney General's office came on strong Thursday, and said they will prosecute Kevin Manchester who is accused of causing the death of Michelle MacLeod after she ingested fentanyl he allegedly sold her, overdosed and then died.

“I mean, my heart breaks for them," said Julianne Manchester, Kevin Manchester's mother. "He told us he didn’t know her. I mean, I’m very, very sorry for her, her children, her family,”

Kevin Manchester waived his arraignment Thursday and has been indicted on several drug-related charges.

“In this case, we see that there is a statute, and in that statute is what we will be pursuing,” said Senior Assistant Attorney General Ben Agati.

Agati’s office’s released a statement highlighting the severity of the opioid crisis.

The statement said that in 2015, fentanyl was solely or partially responsible for over 280 overdose deaths in New Hampshire. As of May 2, 54 confirmed overdose deaths caused exclusively or partially by fentanyl have been confirmed, and 70 overdose deaths are pending toxicology currently.

Julianne Manchester told NH1 News that her son is not helping cause the heroin epidemic, but that he is a victim.

“You know with bangs, cuts and bruises, the doctors gave him pain medications,” she said.

Kevin Manchester was a life-long athlete and was given pain killers at a young age, she said. So began a life of addiction, attempts at rehab, and then selling drugs to feed his addiction.

Selling heroin is what prosecutors believe is what allegedly led Manchester to MacLeod. Now, he sits behind bars, not knowing how deadly the drugs he sold are.

“The maximum possible punishment arises to the equivalent of second-degree murder,” Agati said.

“He doesn’t deserve that," Julianne Manchester said. "He’s an addict, he needs help. He has a disease. I’ll put him back in rehab. These people don’t need jail, they need rehab."

Kevin Manchester will be back in court June 27 for a bail hearing.

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