Ocean County Special Operations Group Capt. Jack Sramaty said Baker has been charged in connection with the death of Thomas Palazzolo, 26, of Brick Township.
Baker “was charged with the drug-induced death of Mr. Palazzolo,” Sramaty said.
The prosecutor’s office said Baker has been held at the Ocean County jail, Toms River, on prior narcotics charges related to this case since Jan. 31.
According to the prosecutor’s office, Baker’s arrest stems from an investigation into the death of Palazzolo which began on Jan. 27. The prosecutor’s office said that at 9:47 a.m., the Brick Township Police Department received a 911 call from a person who reported that Palazzolo was unresponsive on his bedroom floor.
Police officers arrived within moments of receiving the 911 call and attempted life-saving measures, but could not revive Palazzolo, who was pronounced dead at 10:07 a.m., according to the prosecutor’s office.
Officers at the scene observed signs of a drug overdose and contacted the Major Crimes Unit and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Crime Scene Investigations (CSI) unit to respond.
According to the press release, a subsequent investigation led to Baker and linked him to Palazzolo’s overdose death. According to the prosecutor’s office, an autopsy conducted by the Ocean County medical examiner confirmed that Palazzolo’s death was drug induced.
The prosecutor’s office said the investigation was conducted by the Brick Township Police Department, the Ocean County Special Operation Group and the Ocean County Major Crimes Unit, with assistance from Ocean County Sherrif’s Department CSI unit.
Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato said, “The prosecutor’s office will continue to lead the way in developing strict liability/drug induced death cases. It is critical during this opiate crisis that we take strong punitive measures against dealers bringing death to those fighting addiction.”