A Delaware County serial drug dealer already serving time in state prison for transporting 1,500 bags of heroin in his car was brought up on new charges Monday over the sale of a fatal dose of the drug.
Raheem Harper, 28, faces charges of drug delivery resulting in death, delivery of a controlled substance, involuntary manslaughter, and related offenses, court records show. The charges stem from an incident in April 2017 in which Harper allegedly traded a Chester man heroin laced with fentanyl for, among other things, a PlayStation 4, according to the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office.
The victim, 28, was found dead April 21 of last year by police in a home on Edgmont Avenue in Chester. Investigators recovered a hypodermic needle and empty wax packets from the man, whose identity was not released by the District Attorney’s Office. The county coroner later ruled that he died of “multiple drug intoxication” of fentanyl and heroin.
Later that day, Harper was arrested in Tinicum Township after police found cocaine and heroin in his vehicle during a traffic stop. He was charged with drug-related offenses and released on bail.
Harper was stopped again on May 6, 2017, this time in Clifton Heights. Police said at the time that a patrol officer had been called to the scene after residents reported the driver of a gold Chevrolet Malibu completing drug transactions in the area.
When the officer pulled over the Malibu, he recognized Harper from previous drug-related arrests, according to court documents. A subsequent search of the vehicle yielded more than 1,500 bags of crack cocaine and heroin, including packets that matched the ones found at the scene of the fatal overdose in Chester.
In November, Harper was sentenced to 5½ to 12 years in state prison for the May 6 arrest. He was in the middle of that sentence when county investigators found evidence linking him to the fatal Chester overdose.
The victim’s cellphone, recovered at the scene, showed the victim and Harper had been corresponding before his death, with Harper delivering him heroin on four occasions, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
With the new charges, Harper could face up to 69 years in prison, according to District Attorney Katayoun M. Copeland.
The drug delivery resulting in death charge, a felony that carries a statutory maximum 20-to-40-year sentence, was used by Copeland last week in an unrelated heroin-related arrest.
Copeland said Monday that she hopes the charge, a relatively new tool in the fight against opioid addiction, sends a message to drug traffickers in the county.