Cinnaminson, NJ drug dealer charged with causing fatal overdose of Medford, NJ teen
A drug dealer from Cinnaminson has been charged with causing the fatal overdose of a high school student from Medford Township.
Zachary DiBattista, 19, of the 500 block of Camelot Court, has been charged with first-degree Strict Liability for the Drug-Induced Death of a teen who died in his home last year on counterfeit prescription drugs that contained fentanyl, Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and Medford Township Police Chief Art Waterman announced in a joint statement.
DiBattista was arrested last Wednesday by the U.S. Marshals Service New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force -- which includes the Burlington County Sheriff's Department -- with assistance from the Camden and Atlantic City divisions.
He remains in the Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly, pending a detention hearing in Superior Court.
Medford Police responded to a Yorkshire Drive home on March 6, 2021 on a report of an unattended death, and once on scene, officers found the body of 18-year old Max Mather in his bedroom.
Following a toxicology report that revealed the presence of Xylazine, Burlington County Medical Examiner Dr. Ian Hood determined that Mather died from fentanyl toxicity.
Mather fatally overdosed on pills he bought from DiBattista the day before at a Marlton convenience store, according to the investigation, and the two had arranged a meeting on Snapchat.
Prosecutor Coffina said that the investigation into the death uncovered that Mather bought what he believed to be Oxycontin pills, but were actually counterfeit controlled prescription drugs containing fentanyl, designed to resemble authentic oxycodone 30 mg tablets.
“One of the most tragic aspects of the unrelenting substance use disorder epidemic is how young overdose victims tend to be,” Prosecutor Coffina said in a written statement. “In this case, the victim was only 18 and still in high school, with his whole life ahead of him. He presumably thought he was taking a prescription drug that would not harm him, and it is nearly impossible for the untrained eye to distinguish a ‘real’ Oxycontin pill from a counterfeit one. To avoid similar tragedies, we need to do everything possible to make sure our children (and adults) understand that there is no such thing as a ‘safe’ prescription drug unless prescribed by a licensed professional and supplied by a licensed pharmacy.”
The case was investigated by the Prosecutor’s Office Gang, Gun and Narcotics Task Force and the Medford Township Police Department.
Mather will be prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Michael Angermeier, supervisor of the BCPO-GGNTF.