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Dealer of Potent Upper Bucks Heroin Gets 5 to 10 Years in Prison

November 16, 2017

Contact: Thomas C. Gannon, 215.348.6461, tcgannon@buckscounty.org

Lawson Young
       Lawson Young

A Richlandtown man who sold a potent mix of heroin and fentanyl that caused a run of overdoses in the Quakertown area last winter was sentenced today to serve five to 10 years in state prison.

Bucks County Senior Judge John J. Rufe set aside Lawson Young’s claims that he finally had come to terms with his heroin addiction while in prison.

“The sentence I impose is designed to be punitive,” the judge told the 43-year-old defendant. “You can deal with rehabilitation thereafter.”

Young pleaded guilty in three separate felony possession or delivery cases, including a Jan. 25 incident in which he sold heroin to a female visitor just after he checked into a West Rockhill drug rehabilitation facility.

The woman, 45, promptly overdosed in a bathroom of Penn Foundation Recovery, where she had to be revived with Naxolone before being taken to nearby Grand View Hospital. A subsequent search of Young by a Penn Foundation staff member found 11 bags of heroin, suspected methamphetamine and $189 cash.

Another customer of Young’s, a 20-year-old woman, had overdosed on Jan. 10 in the back seat of a car in Quakertown. Police officers, who found the woman unconscious and barely breathing, revived her with Naxalone before she was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital – Quakertown, where she recovered.

Deputy District Attorney Thomas C. Gannon said the woman had used a potent mix of heroin and fentanyl bearing the stamp “China White.” Drugs with the China White stamp had been responsible for at least three other overdoses in the Quakertown area in December, Gannon said.

On Jan. 29, a few days after the overdose incident at Penn Foundation, Quakertown police arrested Young as he fled from a vehicle in the borough. A search found four packets of heroin on him, two of which were stamped “China White.”

Calling the defendant “remorseless,” Gannon told Rufe that Young “stands here before you not six millileters [of Naxalone] away from being a murderer.”

Despite almost killing one customer in early January, the prosecutor said, Young “is still selling it three weeks later.”

Heroin and fentanyl have taken an especially heavy toll on the Quakertown area, Gannon said. “What is worse, he sells it to individuals while at Penn Foundation,” he added, endangering those who are seeking to overcome addictions.

“I cannot think of a more aggravated situation than Mr. Young’s,” Gannon said.

Young told Rufe that he had a 40-bag per day heroin habit at the time of his arrests, and that he peddled the drug to support his addiction. Under questioning by Gannon, he denied knowing that China White contained fentanyl, or knowing until weeks later that two of his customers had overdosed on drugs he sold.

After failed attempts at recovery, Young said his current progress “is better than it’s ever been,” and that he has served as a mentor to other inmates while staying clean in prison.                                                                                

Rufe acknowledged those efforts, but added, “That doesn’t solve the problems you caused by continually selling over a period of time, when you had to be aware that people were dying in the community in which you were selling.”

In addition to the prison time, Rufe imposed a consecutive six years of probation, during which Young would be required to undergo drug and alcohol treatment.

The case was investigated by the Quakertown Borough and Pennridge Regional Police Departments.

Approved for release by Antonetta Stancu, Deputy District Attorney.

Office of the District Attorney
Bucks County Justice Center
100 N. Main Street
Doylestown, PA 18901 
Phone: 215-348-6344 
Fax: 215-348-6299

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