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Upper Saddle River Father Charged In Teen’s Drug Overdose Death

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UPPER SADDLE RIVER, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Residents of a wealthy New Jersey neighborhood are in shock after a father is accused of selling drugs to a teenager who died from an overdose.

As CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported, 44-year-old Darius Ghahary was arrested on charges he was selling recreational and prescription drugs out of his home an the exclusive Bergen County community.

“We moved up to Upper Saddle River from the city because we wanted to be in a nice neighborhood,” resident Danya Dougherty told Sloan.

But the Bergen County prosecutor said Ghahary was running an illegal drug business out of his rented home on Hampshire Hill Road.

According to authorities, Ghahary was selling heroin, oxycodone, marijuana and MDMA – better known as Molly or ecstasy.

“It’s very scary because in this neighborhood you don’t have that,” Upper Saddle River resident Robin Slakatery said.

Prosecutor John Molinelli said Ghahary sold fentanyl-laced heroin to 19-year-old Daniel Lajterman. The 19-year-old Ramsey resident died of a drug overdose, Sloan reported.

Molinelli has taken the unusual move of charging the Upper Saddle River dad with causing Lajterman’s drug-induced death, under a New Jersey statute.

“We don’t have an eyewitness to the person taking the drug but we have enough evidence at the scene and enough forensic evidence to tie the drug that Mr. Lajterman used to Mr. Ghahary,” said Molinelli.

Ghahary’s teenage daughter Alynne was also charged with destroying evidence.

But her father’s attorney said the case against his client is weak.

“We think that there’s gonna be elements that are difficult, if not impossible, to prove and when all the facts come out, we feel confident that it’ll be a favorable decision,” John Bruno, Ghahary’s attorney, told Sloan.

Molinelli said Ghahary’s arrest should send a clear message that the war on drugs is not just in the urban areas but is now in the suburbs, Sloan reported.

“When that person that’s about ready to get addicted to heroin,” Molinelli said, “there is a strong probability that they’re not driving to Paterson or to Newark to get the heroin. They’re getting it from someone that they know.”

If found guilty, Ghahary could face up the 30 years behind bars.

The prosecutor said his office will aggressively try to find out the origin of a drug in every overdose case.

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