News Flash

District Attorney

Posted on: November 18, 2021

Fentanyl Dealer Admitted Into Drug Court

Fentanyl Found on Dawn Murphy

Sonora, California –– Tuolumne County District Attorney Cassandra Jenecke announced today that on November 5, 2021, Groveland resident Dawn Rushelle Murphy was sentenced to 2 years of supervised probation and 6 months in County Jail. The Honorable Judge Kevin Seibert sentenced Ms. Murphy after she pled guilty to transporting and being in possession of fentanyl, heroin, and methamphetamine with the intent to sell.

On August 30, 2021, a traffic stop was conducted by Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office on Highway 108 where Ms. Murphy was driving. A search of the vehicle revealed fentanyl, methamphetamine, and heroin as well as a working digital scale, drug paraphernalia, packaging material and over $2,500 in cash. Ms. Murphy admitted under Miranda that the narcotics and sales items were hers. A search of her cell phone revealed evidence that she was knowingly engaged in the sale of drugs. On September 16, 2021, Ms. Murphy pled guilty to all charges against her for a chance to be considered for Drug Court. The Drug Court program is an intense program where individuals who identify as having an addiction that contributed to the commission of their crimes get treatment for their addiction and participate in regular drug testing, counseling and supervision.

The Tuolumne County District Attorney’s Office supports the hard work that individuals put in to successfully participate in and complete Drug Court and believe it is a worthwhile program but should be granted to those who are serious about receiving treatment and committed to making different decisions than those they have made in the past. In this case, DA Jenecke opposed Ms. Murphy's admission into the drug court program at her sentencing hearing. Ms. Murphy indicated she was not interested in in-patient treatment and based on comments given to the Probation Department appeared to be using the Drug Court program to escape further time in County Jail. Moreover, the People were also gravely concerned about the defendant’s possession of fentanyl with intent to sell and the access to other individuals who struggle with addiction if she participated in the program. Ultimately, Judge Seibert granted Murphy’s request to be placed in Drug Court over the People's objection and sentenced her per the recommendation of the drug court treatment team, which includes representatives from Tuolumne County Behavioral Health, . 

Fentanyl is an incredibly dangerous drug that is often disguised as other legitimate prescription drugs or can be used to contaminate illicit drugs. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is up to 100 times stronger than morphine. Fentanyl related overdoses have increased during the Pandemic and pose a threat to our community especially as it is nearly impossible to tell if drugs are laced with fentanyl as it is taste-less and odor-less. As little as two milligrams of fentanyl can kill a human being. One pill can kill.

The Tuolumne County District Attorney's Office joins many other California counties in advising individuals charged with and convicted of possessing for sale, transporting for sale, or actually selling illegal substances, particularly fentanyl, of the following: "Illegally selling or furnishing methamphetamine, heroin or fentanyl-laced drugs carries with it the specific risk that you are providing drugs laced with a potentially lethal substance and you are advised that if you do so and a person dies as a result of ingesting Fentanyl-laced product, then you can be charged with manslaughter or murder."

For More Information Contact:

Cassandra Jenecke—District Attorney

Phone: (209) 588 - 5450


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