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Pike County Man Charged With Selling Fatal, Fentanyl-laced Dose Of Heroin

February 22, 2019
Pike County Man Charged With Selling Fatal, Fentanyl-laced Dose Of Heroin

The drug deal already arranged, Rocco Fradella tacked on a warning.

This dose might be potent. “Go easy.”

Nearly a year after the state police said he sent that text, troopers from the Blooming Grove barracks on Friday charged the 44-year-old Lords Valley man with selling a deadly dose of fentanyl-laced heroin to the woman he messaged.

The charges — drug delivery resulting in death, delivery of a controlled substance and criminal use of a communication facility — come after months of investigation into the fatal overdose of Donnamarie Larocca, of Lords Valley, in April.

The case is not closed, authorities said.

“This investigation remains open pending further investigation and court action,” said Trooper Bob Urban, a spokeman for the Dunmore based Troop R, which encompasses Blooming Grove, in a statement.

A criminal complaint prepared by Trooper Joseph Tilton shows the police built the case in part by using the text messages Fradella sent to Larocca.

The text messages between Fradella and Larocca points to a narcotics deal set up April 6, the day that Larocca died. He asked shortly after noon if she definitely wants a “bun,” likely short for a “bundle,” or 10 bags of heroin.

At 5:16 p.m., he messaged: “He said there (sic) strong go easy.”

Larocca, one minute later: “Thanks hun.”

By 9 p.m., the police were on their way to her home in Hemlock Farms. She was dying in the basement bathroom, the needle still in her arm.

Larocca, 40, had a history of drug abuse and attended Narcotics Anonymous meetings, state police said. She had 10 months of sobriety but confided to her mother she relapsed.

She passed away shortly after she arrived at Lehigh Valley Hospital — Pocono. Her toxicology report confirmed she had fentanyl, a narcotic many times more potent than heroin, in her blood.

The text messages in her phone led the state police to Fradella. They searched his home at 801 Oak Court in Hemlock Farms. They found bags of heroin with the same stamp — “Moby Dick” — as the bags found at Larocca’s home. The bags also had an identical cutting agent, quinine, a drug used to treat malaria.

Bail and preliminary hearing information was not immediately available. Urban said that the state police had Fradella in custody as this afternoon.

Contact the writer: jkohut@timesshamrock.com, 570-348-9144; @jkohutTT on Twitter