12-year-old boy dead from fentanyl overdose after forced to clean uncle's drug lab, prosecutors say

A man and woman from New Jersey were arrested after the boy's nephew was found to have overdosed on fentanyl earlier this year, announced the Camden County Prosecutor's Office.

Troy Nokes, 35, and Joanna Johnson were arrested by U.S. marshals Monday and taken to the Camden County Correctional Facility.

According to prosecutors, the boy died on Feb. 1 after he was found unconscious on his school bus eight days earlier. The child was ordered by Nokes to clean paraphernalia that contained fentanyl days before he passed out on the bus. Nokes allegedly ran a fentanyl lab at the boy's home.

Witnesses told investigators that the child was not wearing gloves as he cleaned the tainted items in the drug lab.

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Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine, can be absorbed through the skin and be lethal in very small doses.

Nokes was charged with first degree aggravated manslaughter, first degree strict liability drug-induced death, first degree maintaining a CDS production facility, second degree employing a juvenile in a drug distribution scheme, six counts of third degree endangering the welfare of a child, six counts of third-degree witness tampering, one count of fourth degree tampering with evidence, two counts of third degree hindering apprehension, two counts of third degree aggravated assault, along with seven other related charges.

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Johnson was charged with tampering with evidence and hindering apprehension of Nokes. 

Anyone with information about the deadly incident was asked to contact the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Lateasha Jones at (856) 225-8656 or Gloucester Twp. Police Detective Mark Grodzielanek at 856-374-5718.

Tips can also be sent anonymously to ccpotips@ccprosecutor.org.