In late 2016, Cameron W. Johnson of Wyoming, Minnesota, overdosed on Oxycodone from the Darknet. The Oxycodone that tragically ended his life, as seen in several cases recently, was not Oxy. For those less familiar with the actual drug names, Roxicodone or OxyCONTIN might paint a more vivid picture. Regardless, the 18 year-old believed he took a pill he felt familiar with. His girlfriend found him and shortly after failed resuscitation attempts and a phone call, paramedics arrived and announced that Johnson passed away.
When law enforcement arrived on the scene, Johnson’s girlfriend explained the situation. Or, according to the criminal complaint, how she thought the situation unfolded. At the time, police said, she believed that two friends of hers gave the pills to her former boyfriend.
Law enforcement then opened an investigation into the case. Johnson’s toxicology report came back as positive for Fentanyl. He came back positive from his position medications as well; they may have played a role in the death. Johnson took mental health medication and Xanax, his girlfriend told police. If the 18-year-old took Xanax near the time he took the fentanyl-laced oxycodone, the chance of lethal CNS depression increase drastically.
There were four more fake oxycodone pills from Menne found in the bathroom with Johnson’s body, the girlfriend told the police.
So far, news outlets have not confirmed or denied the presence of true oxycodone. If they contained oxycodone as well as Fentanyl, both suspects received charges that reflected the potential accidental nature of the crime: third-degree murder. If no oxycodone appeared in the blood, an official explained, the door for other possibilities opened up.
Under Minnesota laws, anyone who unintentionally sells drugs that directly lead to the person’s overdose face third degree murder charges. This law is contingent upon the drug bring an illegal schedule one or schedule two drug. Intentionally providing someone with directly fatal substances is inherently a premeditated murder interested of a charge that boils down to criminal negligent manslaughter.
An Ohio man recently pleaded guilty to an unrelated crime – but of the same criminal sector. He sold a client Fentanyl from China, the buyer died, and the Ohio man pleaded guilty to possession of with intent.
The two suspects, Alexander James Menne and his 17-year-old parents bought hundreds of the pills every week, Johnson’s girlfriend said. Police explained that they found several of the pills near Johnson’s body—green pills that tested positive for Fentanyl. The suspects, if what the girlfriend explained held any weight, must have known the strength of the pills. Menne’s lawyer argued that no evidence existed to back up the claim and similarly the prosecution lacked evidence that linked Menne to the death of Johnson. A single text message is the only incriminating evidence made public and shortly before his death, Johnson said “I just snorted a tiny line and I am [expletive]-up dude ur gunna be mind blown by this … it’s awesome and we can make so much … money off of these.” This, of course went from the deceased’s phone to the suspect’s phone number. Problematically for the prosecution, Johnson sent the message to a character named bubbles.
After searches of Penne’s electronic equipment, they found evidence that pointed towards at least part of the girlfriend’s statement. He appeared to frequently use the Darknet or specifically the Darknet marketplaces – to what degree or extent, we have yet to find out.
Many parts of the case remained confidential until recently as to keep the investigation from corruption. Since both suspects stood in front of separate judges and each received third degree murder charges, the case details have begun to surface.
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