A 31-year-old Rush City man faces murder charges after a Ham Lake man died in May from counterfeit pills containing fentanyl.
Third-degree murder charges were recently filed against Rey Anthony Tinoco in Anoka County District Court.
At 10:06 p.m. May 17 Anoka County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched on a death report from a residence on Crosstown Boulevard Northwest in Ham Lake, according to the criminal complaint.
The victim was identified as a 25-year-old man. He was found by his roommate, who said he knocked on the victim’s door but received no response. He told deputies he peeked in, saw the victim lying on his bed, cold to the touch, and called the police.
Deputies observed what appeared to be foam around the victim’s mouth, which is a symptom of a drug overdose, according to the complaint. Another roommate told deputies he had last seen the victim alive the day before around noon.
Near the victim’s body deputies found drug paraphernalia and an unlabeled prescription bottle. The pills appeared to be oxycodone hydrochloride, the substance in the drug OxyContin.
A closer examination revealed the pills to be counterfeit, created with a pill press, and a test revealed them to be fentanyl, according to the complaint. A records check showed the victim had no prescriptions. On May 18 the medical examiner concluded the victim had died due to fentanyl toxicity.
On May 21 a woman who knew the victim told law enforcement she had not seen him using drugs, but he reportedly told her he was using oxycodone. He also allegedly told her he had set up a deal with a friend, identified as Tinoco, to get pills that contained “something different.”
A forensic examination of the victim’s cellphone allegedly revealed several text conversations between Tinoco and the victim arranging a wire transfer for narcotics.
On June 11 law enforcement interviewed another roommate. She told officers she had observed Tinoco and the victim together at the house. When Tinoco learned of the victim’s death he left for over a week and a half, she told law enforcement.
Tinoco provided his own statement to law enforcement Oct. 12. According to the complaint, he admitted to selling the pills that killed the victim. He told investigators he knew the victim for a year and a half and had regularly supplied him with pills.
He also told investigators that his supplier was in St. Paul. On May 15 Tinoco met the victim in Maplewood and the pair drove together to purchase 28 pills for $1,050, according to the complaint.
A DNA test on the pill bottle found by the victim’s body contained DNA originating from three people including Tinoco and the victim, the charges say.
Tinoco has allegedly dealt illicit narcotics to others. A warrant was issued for his arrest.