District Attorney Hoovler Announces Guilty Plea in Drug Sale Case
Which Resulted in Fatal Overdose
Defendant Sold Heroin to Montgomery Man Who Died of Overdose
Defendant to be Sentenced on Two Separate Drug Sale Cases
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that on Friday, June 21, 2019, Alban K. Rowe, 29, of Walden, pleaded guilty before Orange County Court Judge Robert H. Freehill, to Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, for having sold heroin to a man at a residence in the Village of Montgomery, at approximately 3:00 a.m., on July 18, 2018. The man who received the heroin subsequently died of a heroin overdose. Rowe is scheduled to be sentenced on July 9, 2019, with respect to that case, as well as for a separate case. Rowe had also pleaded guilty on March 5, 2019, to Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, for having sold heroin to an undercover police officer assigned to the Orange County Drug Task Force on May 24, 2018, in the Town of Newburgh.
The New York State Police and Village of Montgomery Police responded to the death at the Village of Montgomery residence. After it became apparent that the death was due to an overdose of heroin, Senior Assistant District Attorney Maryellen Albanese and Assistant District Attorney Matthew Ross were assigned to assist the police in investigating the death. Rowe was subsequently arrested and charged with the class B felony of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree for having sold narcotics to the man who died. The investigation into the overdose death was conducted by the New York State Police aided by the Village of Montgomery Police Department, the Town of Montgomery Police Department, the Village of Walden Police Department and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office follows the same protocols when assisting its law enforcement partners who are investigating fatal overdoses as they do in homicide cases. This includes drafting search warrants and other documents to ensure that the locations where the narcotics were sold and ingested, as well as locations where people succumbed to overdoses, can be processed as crime scenes and that all available potential evidence is preserved. In some situations, New York State law does not permit the filing of homicide charges against those who sold the narcotics which have resulted in death. In those cases where homicide charges can be filed, the charge is frequently the class E felony of Criminally Negligent Homicide, which is a lower class of felony than the class B felony of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree.
District Attorney Hoovler thanked the New York State Police, the Village of Montgomery Police Department, the Town of Montgomery Police Department, the Village of Walden Police Department for their investigation of the overdose death which resulted in Rowe being charged with the heroin sale on July 18, 2018, and the Orange County Drug Task Force for their investigation into Rowe which resulted in his being charged with the sale on May 24, 2018.
“The lethal nature of heroin, and the fentanyl that is frequently sold with it, has been well documented and well publicized,” said District Attorney Hoovler. “My deepest condolences go out to the family of the deceased in this case. I urge all who suffer from substance abuse disorders to seek help before there are additional tragic consequences. My office will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to give cases involving fatal overdoses the attention they deserve, as we do in any crime investigation involving death or serious physical injury.”
A criminal charge is merely an allegation by the police that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.