New Jersey

2 charged after 5 women overdose outside New Jersey mall

HACKENSACK, NJ — Two people are facing charges after five women overdosed in a New Jersey mall garage.

One of them died a few days later.

Police are desperately warning the public of the dangers of fentanyl.

“These deaths are due to fentanyl pouring into our communities, killing our friends and killing our family members,” Bergen County District Attorney Mark Musella said.

Bergen County police gathered to sound the alarm on Friday. They say fentanyl is so cheap and readily available that it is found in every type of drug on the market, from Adderall to cocaine and heroin.

“It’s not Russian roulette. If you take drugs or medications not prescribed by a doctor, they will contain fentanyl,” said Jason Love, chief of detectives for the Bergen County District Attorney’s Office.

READ MORE: Police: 5 mall workers treated for apparent fentanyl overdose at The Shops at Riverside in Hackensack, NJ

Such was the case with the five women who overdosed at the Shops of Riverside shopping center in Hackensack. Police believe the victims ingested cocaine laced with fentanyl.

All five of these women were resuscitated with Narcan, but the dose was fatal for 29-year-old Michelle Edoo, who friends described as a wonderful mother and a wonderful person.

“She was always there with a happy, smiling face, there to cheer everyone up,” her friend Brittany Onorato said Thursday. “I look back on my memories and I can’t help but smile because she was an amazing person.”

Investigators also announced two narcotics-related arrests in the Hackensack case. These suspects are not yet charged in Edoo’s death.

READ MORE: Police: 1 of Hackensack Mall overdose victims dies

Meanwhile, police say they are working nonstop to plug the fentanyl pipeline into Bergen County.

“In 2022, we seized over 32 kilograms of fentanyl. This week alone, we seized two kilograms of fentanyl,” Love said.

But they admit it’s a losing battle.

“There has never been a riskier time in our society for people who use illicit drugs,” Love said.

According to police, last year in Bergen County, 125 people died of drug overdoses. The majority of these deaths are due to fentanyl.

A memorial service for Edoo will be held on Saturday.


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