A New Jersey man who admitted to distributing fentanyl-laced crack cocaine that killed three people and sent numerous others to the hospital on a single day in 2017 has been sentenced to 13 years in state prison, Union County prosecutors announced Tuesday.
George Rayford, 39 and of Rahway, pleaded guilty in January to three counts of strict liability for a drug-induced death, a first-degree crime. He must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before the possibility of parole under New Jersey’s No Early Release Act.
Authorities say Rayford distributed the deadly quantities of drugs from his home on Dec. 22, 2017. They say two women and a man died that day after overdosing, while an unknown number of others also overdosed on the drugs that night, but survived, with several being revived by the overdose-reversing drug naloxone, according to prosecutors.
Rayford was arrested in February 2018. Three months later, a Union County grand jury handed a 13-count indictment against him.
Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid many degrees of magnitude more powerful than heroin, was found in the toxicology of fewer than 20 percent of Union County’s fatal overdose victims in 2015, but that figure jumped to more than 80 percent by 2018, prosecutors say.
This case marked one of the first times local law enforcement encountered the drug mixed with crack cocaine, according to prosecutors.