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2 charged after 5 women overdose outside New Jersey mall

2 arrested after 5 women overdose outside New Jersey mall
2 arrested after 5 women overdose outside New Jersey mall 02:14

HACKENSACK, N.J. -- Two people are facing charges after five women overdosed at a New Jersey mall garage.   

One of them died days later.

Police are desperately warning the public about the dangers of fentanyl.

"These deaths are due to the fentanyl that is pouring into our communities, killing our friends and killing our family members," Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said.

Police in Bergen County gathered to sound the alarms Friday. They say fentanyl is so cheap and readily available, it is found in every type of drug on the market, from Adderall to cocaine and heroin.

"This is not Russian roulette. If you take drugs or medication not prescribed from a doctor, it will contain fentanyl," said Jason Love, chief of detectives for the Bergen County prosecutor's office.

READ MORE: Police: 5 mall employees treated for apparent fentanyl overdose at The Shops at Riverside in Hackensack, N.J.      

That was the case of the five women who overdosed at the Shops of Riverside mall in Hackensack. Police believe the victims ingested cocaine laced with fentanyl.

Those five women were revived with Narcan, but the dose was fatal for 29-year-old Michelle Edoo, who friends described as a great mother and a great person.

"She was always there with a happy, smiley face, there to cheer everyone up," friend Brittany Onorato said Thursday. "I look back at my memories and I can't not smile because she was that amazing of a person."

Investigators also announced two narcotics-related arrests in the Hackensack case -- 48-year-old Garfield Jones and 52-year-old Robert McCrae. Those suspects are not being charged with Edoo's death, as of yet.

READ MORE: Police: 1 of the victims in Hackensack mall overdose dies

Meanwhile, police say they work nonstop to plug the pipeline of fentanyl into Bergen County.

"In 2022, we have seized over 32 kilos of fentanyl. Just this week alone, we seized two kilos of fentanyl," Love said.

But they admit, it's a losing battle.

"There has never been a more risky time in our society for people who take illicit drugs," Love said.

Police say last year in Bergen County, 125 people died of drug overdose. The majority of those deaths are the result of fentanyl.

A memorial service for Edoo will be held Saturday.

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