A New Jersey man is heading to prison for selling drugs that killed a Hudson Valley man.

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On Monday, Ulster County Court Judge Bryan E. Rounds sentenced Jamal Thompson, of Paterson, New Jersey, to state prison for 4 to 8 years. Thompson pleaded guilty to manslaughter, stemming from an incident where the sale of fentanyl/heroin resulted in the death of a 35-year-old resident of Ulster County.

On Jan. 10, 2020, the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office responded to the death of a 35-year-old man in the Town of Rochester. An investigation revealed he was the victim of a fentanyl overdose, and he was communicating by phone with a person in New Jersey about the sale of narcotics prior to his death, police say.

In February 2020, URGENT coordinated with the US Drug Enforcement Agency, New Jersey State Police and the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office assigned to Paterson, NJ, resulting in the identification of Thompson as the alleged source of fentanyl responsible for the death of the Ulster County man.

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Thompson was later taken into custody in Paterson, NJ by police and is accused of being in possession of several bundles of heroin at the time of his arrest. It was also learned he was on probation in New Jersey and was released in accordance with New Jersey state law.

In August 2020, the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office presented the case to a grand jury in Ulster County, which resulted in an indictment for Thompson for manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and criminal sale of a controlled substance.

A person is guilty of manslaughter when he recklessly causes the death of another person, officials say. The drugs sold to the victim were fentanyl mixed with a cutting agent. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin.

This is the first time in the history of Ulster County that a drug dealer has been convicted of manslaughter for a death resulting from the sale of drugs, officials say.

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