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Pair Charged With Manslaughter in Heroin Overdose

Bergen Catholic grad Brendan Cole, 22, died last month from a heroin overdose.

Volpe and Easton. Credit: Bergen County Prosecutor's Office.
Volpe and Easton. Credit: Bergen County Prosecutor's Office.

Two Paterson men who allegedly sold a lethal dose of heroin to a 22-year-old from Allendale last month were arrested Friday on second-degree manslaughter charges, Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli announced in a release Friday.

Brendan Cole, 22, was found unresponsive in his bedroom on Jan. 4, Molinelli said. He was pronounced dead at the scene and investigators later determined he died from a heroin overdose, Molinelli said.

According to cops, Cole had purchased heroin from Timothy Volpe, 20, and Kaleik Easton, 19, both of Paterson, the night before his death.

“It is alleged that this sale of heroin to the victim by these two individuals directly led to the overdose and death,” Molinelli said.

After his death, police arranged an undercover heroin deal in which officers purchased 100 bags of heroin in Paramus from Volpe and Easton, and an associate of theirs, Molinelli said. They were immediately charged with distribution of heroin and remanded to the Bergen County Jail, authorities said. After an investigation into Cole’s death, Volpe and Easton were also charged with strict liability for drug induced death and second-degree manslaughter, Molinelli said.

Both men have been remanded to the Bergen County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bail each, authorities said. The investigation is ongoing, they said.

According to his obituary, Cole was born in Englewood and lived in Midland Park before moving to Allendale 15 years ago. He was a 2009 Bergen Catholic grad and a 2013 University of Richmond graduate. His funeral was held last month in Wyckoff. 

In his obituary, family members said he was “not with us for nearly long enough,” and should be remembered for touching the lives of those around him. 

joe blow February 22, 2014 at 07:10 AM
yes. makes sense jailing these 2 idiots for selling bad drugs. dont they realize that if they are going to sell heroin it has to be quality stuff?
Phil Brooks February 22, 2014 at 08:22 AM
Joe, Who said it was "bad" heroin? Matter of fact and to a heroin addict, it might have been "great" heroin. // I wish people would understand that, like it or not, there's a market for this stuff and that this market won't go away anytime soon no matter what legislation, anti-drug education and threats of imprisonment are out there. And, if you want the suppliers of this stuff to be the two sleazeballs and whomever THEY deal with, then let's continue what we're doing. If you want to regulate it and otherwise make it above board, then legalize it, as we're slowly doing to marijuana. // How is that "War on Drugs" going, anyway?
Leaving February 23, 2014 at 08:46 AM
Really, Phil? You want to legalize heroin? Clearly you are smoking something!
Phil Brooks February 23, 2014 at 09:05 AM
Leaving, Prefacing that legislating morality is a foolhardy exercise (see: Prohibition), I'll issue you this challenge: Please tell me how to totally eradicate heroin and all the other highly addictive and highly illegal drugs--from the two sleazeballs in this article all the way through the drug kingpins and the governments that give at least tacit approval (because they can't fight them, either) and I'll be on board with you.
hardtimes February 23, 2014 at 03:28 PM
you are right phil,30 years in LE ,tells me it's like shoveling the sand back into the ocean.With the money to be made, skells wil always sell it and easily replaced when they get popped.We spend billions putting the skells away.Do like in england.The junkie goes to a doctor each day to get his fix.
Leaving February 24, 2014 at 06:27 AM
Despite the fact that I agree with you that the "War on Drugs" is a complete, and expensive, failure, that doesn't mean we should legalize it! People run red lights every day without getting caught, and put other people's lives in danger. Does that mean we should legalize that too? As my father used to say, the real intent of government is to 1) protect us from the idiots, 2) protect the idiots from themselves. I am most concerned with the youngest of us; we need to protect them from themselves if at all possible.
Phil Brooks February 24, 2014 at 08:13 AM
Leaving, I fully understand where you're coming from. But, and in my lesson learned as a parent and, of course hearing it over and over from others, the more you tell a person not to do something, the more they'll try to do it just because they have to find out for themselves. And finding out about drugs often means dealing with sleazy front men as in this article. Make it legal and at least that part is taken away. // As far as the red light example... Yes, it's illegal. And, the reason people run them is because they're selfish people in a hurry. So, unlike drugs, there's no seamy underbelly and no red light kingpins running the market selling harmful stuff through a network of sleaze.
boomer February 24, 2014 at 11:19 AM
This does not make any sense to me. How can people be arrested for manslaughter when the kid bought drugs from them? He took the drugs. But of course it's a white kid who bought drugs from African American men, so it all makes sense now. This country is awful.
Leaving February 25, 2014 at 03:49 PM
If you think of it Phil, it's all selfish behavior. I would think that seeing your friends and peers die from overdosing would have an effect on people, but it seems not. I still don't think legalizing is the answer; that's just putting you and I in harms way of the addicts who are driving around high.
DD February 25, 2014 at 04:17 PM
I had to just pick myself up off the floor. I'm finding I mostly agree with Phil Brooks.
Phil Brooks February 25, 2014 at 05:11 PM
Leaving, When you're young, you think you're invincible. Such people think they try/use smoking/drinking/drugs with impunity and can stop when they feel like. This in spite of everything they've ever heard or read. Nope, it won't happen to them. And, like clockwork, it does. // As far as legalizing or keeping it illegal, find me some sort of middle ground that takes the drug kingpins and dealers out of the mix while still keeping it illegal and I'm in. I was going to say "middle ground that makes sense," but I'll just say "middle ground," because I don't think there is any. There is no "sort of legal." But I'm willing to listen. The capitalist in me says to legalize it because someone's making money off it already while killing our kids and those people are pure sleaze who contribute nothing to society. The government already legally sanctions selling stuff that kills--cigarettes, alcohol and guns, so why not add drugs to the mix? It would probably go a long way to paying off the national debt and we could PROBABLY get a better handle on it than we do now. And, considering what's allowed to be sold legally now, saying that drugs shouldn't be is being holier than thou.
Phil Brooks February 25, 2014 at 05:12 PM
DD, A classy admission from someone who is pre-programmed to disagree with me. There IS hope for you!
James Bombace February 25, 2014 at 05:32 PM
Nice to see your here Mr. Brooks.
Phil Brooks February 25, 2014 at 06:07 PM
James, First, call me "Phil." Second, thanks. Third, I was finishing up something I started with Leaving, as I didn't wish to leave him hanging. Fourth, and a pleasant surprise, considering what could almost be called a compliment coming from him (because he's usually closer to a stray dog that follows me around) I responded to DD. // But I'm still on the fence about actively participating.
James Bombace February 25, 2014 at 06:18 PM
Phil, Thanks and please call me Jim. About the fence exactly which way, left or right, do I have to push you (NOT A THREAT) to get you stay actively participating ?
Leaving February 25, 2014 at 07:19 PM
I don't know Phil, it seems to me there is still a very big difference between liquor, cigarettes etc that kill people slowly (usually) and drugs such as heroin that can kill you the first time, or the second or usually MUCH quicker than the others. I would love to suggest a solution that would eliminate the scum middle man; but don't have one to offer. I still don't think that is a good enough reason to legalize it. We do need to do something, or we will continue to stand by and watch people needlessly die. I work with high school kids every day, so I am very much aware of their attitude of being invincible. I just read an article about a young addict who recently died of a drug overdose. Prior to her death, she had lost 16, yes 16 of her friends. How do we deal with that as a community? That is very nearly an entire classroom of teenagers! If someone came in and used a weapon to kill those 16 teens, we would be horrified! Why are we not horrified by drugs? Instead, people suggest we legalize them, because we all don't know what else to do… It's a very sad and disturbing situation.
Phil Brooks February 25, 2014 at 08:09 PM
Jim, NOT A THREAT? You make me laugh. You know something? I'm sorry for what went down on the other thread but I'm glad I got to know you better. We may not agree but we can have a decent discussion. As far as actively participating, let's just say that I'll take it very slow for a while and pick my spots.
Phil Brooks February 25, 2014 at 08:30 PM
Leaving, I understand where you're coming from as you're in the trenches, so to speak. I had a nephew die a year ago from an overdose. So, though I'm horrified when someone dies from the stuff (and maybe more because of what it does to family and friends--they're never the same), the gun stories, especially ones with mass killings, get the airplay, though my guess is that, if a dozen people OD'ed in the same place at once, it would lead the 11 o'clock news, too. But people dying from overdoses usually happen one at a time and, therefore, they pretty much fly under the radar. // So, it's not easy to say "legalize drugs," but they're not going anywhere and maybe the only way to get a handle on them is to legalize them. // As far as something that can kill you the first time, besides heroin, might I also mention a very legal and (sort of) regulated product called a gun? // All the vices out there--and I'll include prostitution and gambling, will be and are with us even in places that they're illegal. Lord knows how hard the temperance people tried to rid certainly the NY area of gambling, booze and even something innocuous such as Sunday baseball and even movies a century ago. And, what happened? People still drank, the racetracks finally had to shut down and the gamblers went to the baseball parks (part of the reason the 1919 World Series was fixed) and Sunday ball eventually returned around WW I. My point is that try as people might to eradicate what they thought was immoral behavior by making it illegal, it never really went away and, with some vices, actually became legal again. And breaking the law became a game. And the government lost out on 13 years of alcohol tax revenues, to boot, plus all the money they spent during the Volstead Act years trying to eradicate it. Raising the white flag sucks because it'll announce that the War on Drugs was a colossal waste of time, manpower and money. But maybe it's time to do it because I think that's the only way we'll be able to get a handle on this stuff.
disgusted February 26, 2014 at 07:59 AM
I will agree the war on drugs has not worked for various reasons. but to legalize drugs which cause serious off shoot crimes is asking for trouble, ie:heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, bring on burglary, robbery, and gang violence that is unrivaled by at legalization of any of those alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco. I don't feel that legalizing or controlling any of those substances will improve anything.
Phil Brooks February 26, 2014 at 10:02 AM
Disgusted, As I've said, please find me a workable middle ground and I'll go with it. // Also, for what it's worth and, though the comparison could be considered dated, I don't think it is, take a hard look at Prohibition and see how the alcohol business ran both before and after it was made illegal. Based on that, in my opinion, if you legalize drugs, you'll get rid of the seamy underbelly of the drug business. Now, though they've been glorified in movies and memory tends to fade and become selective over time, I'm sure the so-called "rum runners" were a pretty shady bunch, but it seems that those involved in drug trafficking now are far more sleazy and ruthless than those involved in illegal alcohol. And, if we legalize it, I think we can get rid of most of that. And that, I think, would be a good start.
disgusted February 26, 2014 at 07:00 PM
There are 2 things different in today's underworld heroin, coke, and meth, are far more dangerous than alcohol, and they are far more profitable, I don't know anyone who broke into a house to get money for booze. But there are people in jail and cemetery's over heroin, crack, meth, and powdered coke. I've spoken to a retired DEA boss and he said the most dangerous part of cannabis right now is the fertilizer these outlaw growers use to speed up production. It can be very toxic. The scariest part about alcohol is DWI. It wouldn't surprise me if more people died from DWI accidents that alcohol related disease.
Phil Brooks February 26, 2014 at 09:48 PM
Disgusted, I'm not arguing the danger of drugs and that they're more lethal than alcohol. The only thing I'm wondering is if we can find a middle ground between the complete and total failure of the War on Drugs (the stuff out there now is stronger, cheaper and more available than we started fighting this supposed war) and making them legal. That middle ground would mean eradicating drugs and somehow getting rid of everyone involved in the trade. Please tell me how to do it. // As far as I'm concerned, I'm virtually certain it can't be done. And that's why I'm for legalization. At least, at that point, we can actually get a handle on this stuff. We have none now.
disgusted February 27, 2014 at 06:51 AM
Ok if you will indulge me in some "pie in the sky thinking" Education saturation, we as a society have to find a way to keep our own people from buying the stuff. If we can reduce the need the there will be less demand. Secondly use economic sanctions against the countries that produce the stuff. Regardless if we can prove govt. complicity. If we can prove complicity take military action if the circumstances allow it. Third lower the regulations regarding quality of life in our prisons so it will help reduce cost for housing the incarcerated and will instill some fear of our penal system to those who commit these transgressions. Our penal system is the laughing stock of the underworld. Fourth, restructure the search and seizure regulations with regards to the 4th, 5th, and 6th, amendments reducing the rights of accused traffickers and sellers of Heroin, coke, lsd, meth, and molly, and most importantly improper use or distribution of prescription painkillers.
Phil Brooks February 27, 2014 at 09:24 AM
Disgusted, Education saturation? There are DARE programs and other stuff in school all over the place. I heard all the stuff about pot and LSD, complete with the scare tactics, when *I* was a kid. And that was 40+ years ago. Kids, being kids (some of them anyway) will do what they're told not to do and/or they'll respond to peer pressure ("Man, you gotta try this"), more than enough and with plenty of mommy and daddy's money, to keep the druggies in business. // Economic sanctions? Quite honestly, I think we should take care of our business at home before giving foreign aid to others, including our closest allies. But, if Colombia, let's say, has a piece of the action in the drug business (and I'm convinced they crack the whip on drug makers and kingpins in their country with one hand while making money from the stuff hand over fist with the other) they see our foreign aid as some extra cash given to them by a sucker as they'll make far more in drugs than with whatever we can threaten them with in the loss of foreign aid. // Making at least part of our penal system into something that looks like a Turkish prison? Works for me. Unfortunately, there are too many bleeding hearts who think prisoners have rights. Also unfortunately, many of the people involved as soldiers (like the two in this article) and users in this "War on Drugs" probably don't see more than five minutes into the future, probably don't see a long, successful life ahead of them and, should they end up in prison, probably have a goal of being the meanest dog in the junkyard. So, being the top dog in a tougher prison might actually be considered a feather in their cap. Not by me, of course. // Put it this way: There are already laws in place to attempt to deter drug sale and use. And, let's just say that dealing drugs in this area isn't a country club and attempting to cross up someone higher in the food chain, so to speak, will be met with more lethal consequences than whatever the US penal system can offer. And, still, with all the education and laws and the threat of retribution, the drug sub-culture is still getting new soldiers (and users) every day. What does that tell you?
disgusted February 27, 2014 at 10:13 AM
That you and I disagree and what ever you and I think as individuals will ever become law.( unfortunately).
Phil Brooks February 27, 2014 at 06:50 PM
We have laws for drugs like we have laws for guns. Neither work, as those who routinely disobey the laws think those laws don't apply to them. More and different laws and even threats will work just as poorly.

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