Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato and Toms River Police Chief Mitch Little today announced the arrest of Gregory Koc, 34, of Pine Street, Toms River, NJ in connection with the drug induced death of Kenneth Cook, 28, of Bayville.

“Prosecutor Coronato stated, “Since my appointment in 2013, I have made battling the Opioid Crisis in Ocean County my priority.  To date we’ve instituted the following pro-active initiatives: Drug Forums (Over 10,000 people have participated), Professionally Produced “Right Turns” Drug Education Videos, K9’s in Middle and High Schools (First Prosecutor’s Office to implement), MYPD Free APP ( first to implement), Narcan Equipped Police (first to implement and spread to entire state), Narcan in High Schools ( first to implement), Narcan Reversal After Care Programs ( first to implement), Angel Program ( first to implement), Reorganized Special Operations Drug Enforcement Group, Revised Mandated Overdose Investigations Procedures, Strict Liability Charges Against Dealers, Charges against Health Care Professionals Providing Illegal Prescription Meds, Unused Prescription Drop Programs, Stricter Drug Statute Legislation, Drug Stats/Intelligence Tracking, Pawn Shop Stolen Merchandise Data Base.”

Coronato continued, “In the face of all these measures, the deaths continue at an alarming rate.  This year the overdose death toll to date stands at a horrific 180 lives lost to the opioid crisis in Ocean County.  Dealers who are relentless in their efforts to profit from the misery and deaths of others have now resorted to dealing deadly doses laced with powerful synthetic opiates in order to combat our initiatives and to increase their addictive grip on users.  Law Enforcement cannot address this evil alone.  We implore everyone and anyone to join in our efforts.  Citizens and community groups must show their disgust with this horrific new “Synthetic Storm”.  Please join us in working to stop the deaths and to make Ocean County a “No Dealer Zone”.

Koc was taken into custody on Tuesday (11/29) by detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and the Toms River Township Police Department, who charged him with Strict Liability for Drug-Induced Death,  Manslaughter, Distribution of Fentanyl, Possession of Fentanyl with Intent to Distribute and Possession of Fentanyl.  OCPO Assistant Prosecutor Meghan O’Neill approved the charges. Koc is being held in the Ocean County Jail on $350,000 cash bail set by the Honorable Judge Wendel Daniels, P.J.Cr.P.

Gregory Koc’s arrest stems from an investigation which began on August 3, 2016 at 9:55 pm, when the Toms River Police Department responded to the Kmart on Route 37 East to conduct a death investigation. Arriving officers and medical personal found Cook unresponsive in the Kmart Restroom at the rear of the store.  He was pronounced dead on scene at 10:04 pm.  Officers on scene, observing signs of a drug overdose, immediately, per the Prosecutor’s directive, contacted the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Major Crimes Unit and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Unit to respond.  The ensuing intensive investigation would ultimately lead back to Koc and link him to Kenneth Cook’s overdose death.

The Major Crimes Unit and the Special Operations Group of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, the Toms River Police Department and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department all contributed to the investigation culminating in the arrest of Koc.

The media and public are reminded that criminal charges are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

gregory-kocGREGORY KOC

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