EAST ST. LOUIS – A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging an area woman for dealing a lethal dose of fentanyl, leading a man to overdose and die. Tessa R. Webber, 25, of Collinsville, is charged with one count of distribution of a controlled substance: fentanyl resulting in death.
“Too many lives are lost due to drug-induced homicides,” said U.S. Attorney Rachelle Aud Crowe. “Law enforcement agencies are working to secure justice for families of overdose victims.”
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According to court documents, the Fairview Heights Police Department began investigating a suspected fatal drug overdose on June 11. Discovered by a roommate, a man was found deceased near drug paraphernalia, and the victim’s family confirmed he had a history of substance abuse.
“Collaboration between the Fairview Heights Police Department, DEA and the U.S. Attorney’s Office enabled law enforcement to bring just a little bit of justice to the victim’s family,” said Fairview Heights Police Chief Steve Johnson.
Law enforcement searched the victim’s phone and discovered messages between the victim and Webber from May and June. Messages between the victim and Webber indicated a buyer-and-seller relationship for dealing drugs.
“Fentanyl is killing Americans at an unprecedented rate,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Joseph Dixon, head of Drug Enforcement Administration investigations in southern Illinois. “Drug traffickers are driving addiction and increasing their profits by mixing fentanyl with other illicit drugs. By arresting and prosecuting the individuals behind the deaths, we send a clear message: if your drug dealing kills someone, you will pay.”
The victim’s toxicology report listed his cause of death as drug/poisoning overdose and traces of amphetamine, meth and fentanyl were present in his body. Court documents allege Webber sold the victim two fentanyl pills on June 9. An indictment is merely a formal charge against a defendant. Under the law, a defendant is presumed to be innocent of a charge until proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to the satisfaction of a jury.
If convicted, Webber could face up to life imprisonment. Distribution of a controlled substance: fentanyl resulting in death is punishable by no less than 20 years in federal prison. DEA and the Fairview Heights Police Department are contributing to the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel S. Carraway is prosecuting the case.
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