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Uncle charged after 12-year-old overdoses on fentanyl on school bus

CAMDEN, N.J. — Police in New Jersey have arrested a man after his 12-year-old nephew overdosed on fentanyl and died while on the bus to school.

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Prosecutors said Troy Nokes faces a list of charges, including first-degree aggravated manslaughter, endangering the welfare of a child and aggravated assault.

Prosecutors said the 12-year-old victim was found unresponsive on his school bus on Jan. 24. Students initially thought the child had been asleep on the bus, WNBC reported. A school nurse performed CPR until emergency crews arrived, but the child was pronounced dead on Feb. 1.

An autopsy revealed the child’s death was caused by an overdose of fentanyl.

In a news release, prosecutors said Nokes was manufacturing fentanyl the weekend prior to the 12-year-old’s death, and he directed the child to clean paraphernalia that contained the drug, without gloves.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is stronger than both heroin and morphine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said more than 150 people die each day from overdoses related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Fentanyl can also be absorbed through the skin.

A second person, Joanna Johnson, was also arrested and charged with tampering with evidence and hindering apprehension, WABC reported.