Two people were arrested on drug offenses after law enforcement connected them to the overdose-related death of a 22-year-old man in Centralia on Tuesday.
Officers with the Centralia Police Department responded at about 9 a.m. on March 21 to a report that the man, who was found by his friend in an apartment in the 3000 block of Borst Avenue, was unconscious and not breathing, according to a news release from the police department.
According to the friend, the man was visiting from the University of Idaho in Moscow and had attended a party in Seattle the night prior, where he overdosed.
He received care at Harborview Medical Center before he was discharged at about 2 a.m. and picked up by the friend, who lives in Centralia.
The friend told law enforcement the man went to sleep and stopped breathing shortly before the friend called 911, according to court documents.
The man’s official cause of death has not been released.
When a preliminary investigation revealed illegal drug use was involved in the man’s death, Centralia detectives launched a controlled substance homicide investigation, according to a news release from the Centralia Police Department.
Due to the suspicion of fentanyl being involved, detectives requested assistance from the Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team (JNET), according to the news release.
“The poisonous effects of fentanyl are killing individuals and devastating families. With the recent amounts of deadly fentanyl that have been seized in our area, the Centralia Police Department and JNET have made it a priority to not only reduce the manufacturing, distributing, and transporting illegal drugs and guns within our community, but to also identify and arrest all the subjects who involved in the delivery of illegal deadly drugs like fentanyl,” the Centralia Police Department stated in a news release on Wednesday.
While law enforcement officials suspect fentanyl was involved, the two people arrested Tuesday, identified as Emma Bailey, 22, of Moscow, Idaho, and Demetrius R. Robinson, 36, of Tacoma, are accused of delivering cocaine to the man shortly before he overdosed at the Seattle party.
Because fentanyl, a highly-addictive synthetic opioid 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, is cheaper and more-addictive than most controlled substances, it is frequently mixed into other drugs, including cocaine.
At the request of detectives, the man’s friend sent a social media message to Bailey “and attempted to ruse her into a meetup to purchase more narcotics,” but Bailey allegedly advised “she was not willing to sell, that (the man) had died in ‘D’s arms’ and (the man) needed to get healthy.”
When law enforcement located Bailey and Robinson at a residence in De Moines, Idaho, they reportedly found “some loose white powder substance, several hundred dollars in cash of small bills, assorted sizes of small baggies, bottles of white powder vitamins and empty capsules in a bag sold for the purpose of self-loading,” according to court documents.
Bailey and Robinson were booked into the Lewis County Jail at about 10 p.m. on Tuesday.
They were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit violation of the uniform controlled substances act in Lewis County Superior Court on Wednesday.
The charge is considered a class B felony, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
Bail was set at $100,000 each on Wednesday.
Bailey and Robinson each have arraignment hearings scheduled for Thursday, March 23.
The Centralia Police Department encourages anyone with information about the man’s - death to call the Centralia Police Department at 360-330-7680 or Lewis County Communications at 360-740-1105.
Editor’s Note: The Centralia Police Department initially said the Tacoma suspect’s name was Demetrius R. Washington, but The Chronicle confirmed the man is charged in Lewis County Superior Court as Demetrius R. Robinson.