A 58-year-old Coon Rapids man is charged with selling the fentanyl that killed a man last May.
John Lee Varhol faces one felony count of third-degree murder.
At 2:41 p.m., May 22, Coon Rapids Police were dispatched to a medical call at the Coon Rapids Liquor store at 11239 Foley Blvd., according to the criminal complaint.
Upon arrival officers began assisting EMS personnel who were treating a man later identified as Varhol. Varhol appeared to be having a seizure and went into cardiac arrest inside an ambulance. EMS personnel successfully resuscitated Varhol, and he was transported to Mercy Hospital.
While searching Varhol’s pockets for identification, a Coon Rapids officer found two Oxycodone bottles containing three types of pills, according to the complaint.
Analysis by the Midwest Regional Forensic Laboratory indicated the pills were Oxycodone and fentanyl. The two bottles allegedly contained 112 Oxycodone pills and 56 fentanyl pills.
The fentanyl pills were described as round and blue with an “M” on one side, according to the complaint.
Several hours later, at 9:35 p.m. May 22, Coon Rapids officers responded to a possible drug overdose in the 10400 block of Foley Boulevard.
At the scene two men were located, one semi-conscious and one not breathing. EMS responders attempted to resuscitate the man who was not breathing, but he was declared dead. He was identified as 34-year-old Ryan Nicholas Weber in the complaint. Inside a cigarette pack in Weber’s pocket officers allegedly found a round, blue pill with an “M” imprinted on one side.
The second man, identified as Travis Simco, was transported to Mercy Hospital for treatment.
Detectives spoke with Simco, who told them he and Weber had gone to the liquor store to purchase Oxycodone pills, the charges say. He described the pills they allegedly purchased as round, blue pills with an “M” marked on them.
Simco admitted to crushing and snorting the blue pills and told officers he and Weber each took one and then Simco passed out, according to the complaint. He was unaware if Weber took additional pills.
Surveillance footage from the liquor store showed an unidentified man deliver the pills to Varhol, who is seen on the tape inventorying the pills and exchanging money with the unknown man, the charges say.
The footage also allegedly shows Varhol sell the pills to Simco in the parking lot of the store. Varhol is seen crushing pills and snorting them approximately five minutes before the apparent seizure at the liquor store, the charges say.
The Medical Examiner’s Office classified Weber’s death as accidental, attributed to fentanyl toxicity, according to the complaint.
Varhol’s first appearance in court is scheduled for Jan. 15, 2021.