FRESNO COUNTY, Calif (KSEE/KGPE) – Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp files the county’s first murder charges for distributing and selling a lethal dose of fentanyl.

Local addiction experts and a parent who lost a child to the drugs weighed in.

“When I opened up Frankie’s bedroom door and found him dead .. it changed my life forever; my life will never be the same. so I’m so happy to hear that these drug dealers are going to be prosecuted,” said Elaine Hudson.

Elaine Hudson says she lost her 20-year-old son Frankie back in April of 2020 to a fentanyl overdose and there’s not one day that goes by she doesn’t think of him.

“I miss Frankie so much and I know that other parents feel the exact same way… these people are all about profit and money to them they could care less that they’re devastating a family,” added Hudson.

“This is murder without using a weapon. This is murder without using a firearm. The weapon is fentanyl,” said DA Lisa Smittcamp.

21-year-old Cassidy Gonzalez faces four felony counts, including possession of fentanyl for sale -and the first-degree murder of 41-year-old Jade Dreith.

“I think it’s the best thing that could happen to Fresno county,” said Flindt Andersen.

Flindt Andersen with “Parents & Addicts in Need” known as “PAIN” says he’s been fighting the war on fentanyl for years and backs the DA.

“We have the right people in place. DA Smittcamp is absolutely wonderful at what she does and law enforcement right now is tackling this like nobody’s business,” said Andersen. 

The DA’s office says it took nearly nine months of investigating and evidence to charge Gonzalez.

She was arrested on October 13th. Alex Valverde-Nuno is charged in this case as an accessory.

“It is my sworn duty to the people that I represent – that live in this county – to prosecute the people who transport it, sell it, and poison others to the fullest extent of the law,” said the DA. 

“These kids think they’re buying something and it’s not what they’re getting and so they have no idea” added Hudson.

Andersen says there’s always going to be drugs crossing our borders and we need to be proactive.

“The reality is we are losing kids more than covid, more than gunshots, and more than motor vehicle accidents and that in itself should tell our society we’re in trouble and we need to do something about it,” said Andersen. 

Both suspects in the case, Gonzalez and Val Verde are expected in court next week.