BARRIE - A call to police from a grieving mom has led to the arrest of an alleged drug dealer.
A week ago, 19-year-old Tina Espey was pronounced dead after what her mom Sherri Dolk believes was an overdose from a legal prescription drug she had bought off the street.
Dolk told The Advance her daughter had been battling with drug addiction and had bought fentanyl – a drug more powerful than morphine that is usually given to patients experiencing chronic pain. One fentanyl patch typically has enough medicine inside to last a patient 72 hours.
When consumed illegally, drug abusers typically cut up the patch and eat it, or smoke the gel inside the patch. It gives drug abusers an opioid or hypnotic high. When the patch is converted from medical to recreational drug use, it is difficult for a user to control the dose.
In Espey's case, her dose was fatal. A funeral for the St. Joseph’s Catholic High School grad was held Friday.
While preparing for the visitation Thursday, her mother called police to report suspicious calls that had been made to her deceased daughter’s cellphone.
Police followed up on the information and, on Thursday, charged a 26-year-old Barrie man with drug trafficking.
Barrie police Const. Angela Butler said a small amount of fentanyl patches and marijuana were found during the arrest. The suspect was charged with trafficking fentanyl, possession of fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking and two counts of possession of a controlled substance. A 26-year-old Collingwood woman found with him was charged with cocaine possession.
Both were released on bail.
The toxicology results aren’t back to confirm the official cause of Espey's death, but Butler said the cellphone tip was enough to narrow the investigation.
“The mom was instrumental in all of this," said Butler. “This was a great arrest for our drug officers. The accused are only charged at this point and still have to go through the court process, but how many times does this happen?”
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