Police: Officer posed as fatal overdose victim to catch dealers

Brandon Beatty

An officer posing as a dead man seeking heroin was able to track down a drug dealer and the dealer's supplier, according to officials.

York Area Regional Police used the cellphone of 29-year-old Jovi Henise to organize a drug deal with Joshua Allen Morrow last spring, court documents state.

After apprehending Morrow, they used his phone to coordinate a drug sale between Morrow and Brandon Cole Beatty just a few days later, police said.

Morrow, 36, of the first block of North Main Street in Yoe, and Beatty, of the 100 block of Edgar Street in York City, are charged with drug delivery resulting in death, conspiracy to commit drug delivery resulting in death, and two counts of possession of drugs with intent to deliver.

Investigation: Police were sent to Henise's Windsor Township home about 8 p.m. May 16. He was found dead with a syringe against his neck.

Investigators took Henise's phone and found that he had been texting Morrow earlier that day and that Morrow was asking if Henise was going to need anything from him and that he was "doing deals," police said.

Using Henise's phone, police sent a text to Morrow asking to buy heroin the next day, and he directed them to come to his Yoe home about 5:50 p.m. that day, charging documents indicate.

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Officers met with Morrow at his home, where he admitted to getting anywhere between two bags to a bundle for Henise when he got him drugs, police said. He admitted to selling Henise a bundle, or 10 bags, the day before, court document state.

Morrow admitted to getting drugs to sell from "B," who was later identified as Beatty, officials said. 

Joshua Morrow

Beatty: Police next posed as Morrow, using his phone, and arranged to get drugs from Beatty, police said. 

On May 22, Beatty arranged for a woman to deliver drugs to Morrow at a Super 8 Motel, court documents state.

He met the woman at a Steelton, Dauphin County, Turkey Hill, where he gave her several bundles of suspected heroin to give to Morrow, officials said.

The suspected heroin was submitted to a lab, and it later matched what was found in the syringe Henise had, court documents state.

In June, autopsy results showed Henise's cause of death was mixed substance toxicity. He had tramadol, morphine, fentanyl and norfentanyl in his system, according to police. 

Beatty also is accused in the drug death of a Jackson Township man in February 2017. Northern York County Regional Police say he sold drugs to two people, who then sold the drugs to a man who overdosed on them.

His case was sent to the York County Court of Common Pleas, but as of Tuesday, March 27, there had not been a trial date scheduled.

More:Three accused in Jackson Twp. drug death

Charges were filed against Beatty and Morrow on Tuesday, March 20, and the two were arraigned on them then. They were sent to York County Prison in lieu of $100,000 bail each, but Morrow posted bail Thursday, March 22.

They do not have attorneys listed.

The two have a preliminary hearing scheduled for April 26 at District Judge John H. Fishel's office.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.