A suspected heroin dealer from Lacey Township awaits sentencing date in connection with the overdose death of a township 27-year-old.

Kenneth Staunton (Ocean County Prosecutor's Office)

Kenneth Staunton, 33, pleaded guilty to manslaughter for the death of Raymond Farino, 27, last January, according to information from the office of Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato.

At Staunton's sentencing on January 10, 2014, prosecutors will ask for a prison term of eight years under New Jersey's No Early Release Act for the manslaughter count, with another four concurrent years for his guilty plea to heroin possession.

"Staunton's guilty plea is only the beginning, there's still allot of work to be done to stem the tide of overdose deaths in Ocean County," said Coronato in a prepared release. "What's significant is we've now sent a strong message to dealers, that we've coming for you.  My office will be relentless in tracking down and prosecuting dealers who choose to profit by ignoring the tragic consequences of their actions."

Information filed in the case reveal that a probe of Staunton's drug activities began on January 6, 2013, 11 days before Farino's death, as detectives learned his territory, clients and the stamp on his contraband.

Lacey police responding to a reported overdose in the midafternoon of January 16 found Farino on the floor of a home in Forked River, with no breath or pulse.

Police initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation which Lacey first-aiders and Monoc paramedics subsequently continued until Farino was rushed to Community Medical Center in Toms River. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

According to investigators, the green-lettered "IL CAPO" stamp on several wax paper folds containing white powder found at the scene was the direct connection to Staunton. He was arrested and, on March 8, indicted by a grand jury.

In the original indictment, Staunton faced a first-degree charge of drug-induced death along with the second-degree manslaughter count and five charges related to possession and distribution.

He remains in the Ocean County Jail in Toms River, with bail set at $250,000 cash.