(As originally published with additional photos, Fri, November 10th 2023, 6:10 PM EST)
APOPKA, Fla. (TND) — A 27-year-old man was found dead in his bedroom in central Florida and authorities say the pill he had swallowed was not what he thought it was.
Now, 10 months later, authorities arrested three people on murder charges for supplying the victim with a counterfeit pill.
Sheriff’s deputies said they found “a counterfeit Percocet pill pressed with fentanyl” on Tristan Buttrum’s nightstand, and they started investigating the source.
They called the result “a web of drug-related crimes that spanned multiple states and involved several individuals.”
Last month, three people described as “drug dealers” were indicted by a grand jury. Two of them were local.
Bradley Hunter, 26, and Vincete Diaz, 22, were arrested this past Tuesday. So was 28-year-old Andres Spancky Raya in Los Angeles.
Authorities said they learned “Hunter and Diaz routinely traveled to California to purchase illegal drugs from Raya.”
Then, they’d ship the drugs east to Florida.
Agents said one large purchase took place last December when Hunter and Diaz bought 40,000 pressed fentanyl pills from Raya.
All three are charged with first-degree murder by unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, while Hunter faces several other drug charges.
“The majority of jurisdictions across this country, quite frankly, are still calling these accidental overdoses,” Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma said. “Granted, you can overdose on a substance that is legal or illegal.
“But what we’re dealing with here is different because people are taking a substance that has been unknowingly poisoned to the level of lethal doses, and that’s exactly why this is a murder case.”
Raya also has a criminal history. In 2017, he pleaded no contest to a felony animal cruelty charge in L.A. after he was caught on video twice hurling his pit bull into a ravine. He received a two-year sentence. He also served time for burglary.