Opioid Death Investigations
Number: 706
MemberFee: No Fee for Member Agencies
Contact: 309-268-8430

Wicklander-Zulawski instructor and Albuquerque PD Detective Brian Sallee will present a 2-day program on investigation of opioid deaths. The introduction will cover the different opioids and opiates that are out there including heroin, fentanyl, prescription pain killers and more. The effects of opioids on users, how they break down in the body and how it kills will be discussed.
The initial segment will conclude with the effects of Narcan and why users are still overdosing.
Brian will then lead a discussion on charges related to drug overdoses including murder and manslaughter and what needs to be proven for different charges. Brian will review state-specific homicide laws and the elements of the different statutes for proper charges as well as the potential for federal charges.
The next segment will review whether to charge or not charge. While it may be desirable to charge drug dealers with a drug-induced death there are reasons why not to do so. Consideration should be given on the ability to make an effective case. There is often a public perception that the deceased was not a victim because they put the drug in themselves. Also, did the doctor overprescribe drugs or did the deceased not take the drugs properly.
Brian will then present a segment on how to anticipate what the Defense will present and how to make sure you effectively cover the areas of concern. For example, providing proof the dealer sold the drugs that killed the person with the intent to cause death or recklessness. Tips will be provided on how to tie the drug to the dealer through use of fingerprint of drugs, CI information, other user’s statements, UC into dealer, statement from drug dealer, phone call records, trace prescription drugs to doctor or doctor shopping and use of prescription monitoring program. The class will then review establishing a policy and strategies on how to work the case.
The next topic presented will focus on working the crime scene and getting evidence for drug case and homicide case. Brian will present what evidence to collect at the scene such as drugs, syringe or foil, phones, ledgers, fingerprint works kit. Check for videos in the area for people coming and leaving the location. Organize evidence from Medical Examiner report, drug analysis reports, statements from witnesses, informants, undercover, and drug dealers. Consider examples from cases around the country- especially showing what was missed or done improperly.
Courtroom testimony and working with your prosecutor on how and who will present evidence in court will be discussed. The importance of explaining how the drug trade works to show danger to user, lack of quality control, how person purchases drugs so dealer knows they are using it will be covered. Brian will then discuss the critical importance of knowing your case and presenting it in a professional manner.
Brian will provide instruction in the necessary preparation and legal background information necessary to manage a complex death investigation. This comprehensive examination of the law will prepare seminar participants with the legal foundation to make the correct decisions during a homicide investigation. Testimony and proper preparation for trial will be discussed along with a perspective from the judge or juries point of view.

Instructor & Location Date/Time