HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) – An arrest has been made in the death of a 17-year old in Henderson who died after overdosing on fentanyl.
“After our detectives began to investigate, evidence was found that linked Austin Jenkins, a native of Evansville. To the drug that ultimately took the life of Cash O’Nan…I know that our efforts won’t bring Cash back, but we are hopeful that it will save another teenagers’ life,” says HPD Chief Sean McKinney.
Police say Austin Jenkins was arrested and federally charged with distribution of narcotics resulting in death. The investigation, in partnership with the DEA office, began after O’Nan’s passing in 2022.
The DEA pledged to continue its efforts fighting these dangerous narcotics, focusing on suspected dealers.
“When we get information on who a significant drug dealer is, we’re gonna investigate them. We’re going to collaborate with all of our state, local, and federal partners to hold that person accountable,” says Mike Glannon with the Drug Enforcement Administration.
For O’Nan’s family, news of the arrest was unexpected. The family remembers Cash as a kind and considerate young man, despite his struggles with substance abuse.
I did go to that arraignment yesterday, a lot of prayers went into that. I didn’t know. I’m not one that’s going to stand up and point my finger at you, as far as that goes. This is hard…Cash was a very good person; he just made very bad choices,” says Gialene O’Nan, mother of the victim.
Meanwhile, law enforcement continues to work with the community to rid the Henderson streets of fentanyl. HPD is employing a variety of strategies, including the distribution of Narcan.
“We will not tolerate drug trafficking in our community. We will continue to vigorously investigate and arrest drug traffickers,” says McKinney.
An “amnesty law” in Kentucky allows people to bring in an overdose victim for medical treatment without fear of prosecution. The O’Nan family urges everyone to be on the look out for signs of use, before it’s too late.
“Don’t turn a blind eye… I urge families to tell their kids that – if you don’t think your kid is the one doing the drugs, urge you children, if you know somebody that is, take them to the emergency room. Don’t wait for them to find their child in a bed,” says O’Nan.
Chief McKinney says there have been ten fentanyl-related deaths in Henderson this year.