POLK COUNTY, Fla. – A drug dealer who sold fentanyl instead of heroin to a man who ultimately overdosed and died earlier this year is now facing a murder charge, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies said they were called to Rodeway Inn in Winter Haven on Jan. 10 and found an unresponsive 41-year-old man who was declared dead.
Through the investigation, deputies said they learned that the victim had purchased three baggies of what he believed was heroin on Jan. 9 and snorted some of the drugs.
Records show an autopsy along with tests of the victim’s blood and urine determined that there was only fentanyl present in his system, not heroin, and his cause of death was determined to be fentanyl intoxication.
Further testing of the baggies found at the scene determined that they contained fentanyl, according to a news release.
Deputies said 29-year-old Gary Scott Jr. was arrested in March as part of an undercover heroin trafficking investigation and when he was questioned about the man’s death, he initially denied selling drugs to him but then later admitted to selling him a baggie at the motel.
Scott has been in jail since March on charges that include trafficking in heroin, tampering with evidence and possession of a structure to traffic drugs. After a grand jury indictment, he’s now facing additional charges of fist-degree murder and sale of fentanyl.
“We have investigated 59 deaths related to drug overdoses so far in 2020 in our jurisdiction. This investigation is one part of holding the dealers accountable for selling these deadly drugs. For every parent who loses a child to illegal narcotics, there’s someone out there responsible for selling the drug that caused it. These are not ‘non-violent, low-level’ crimes. These drugs ruin lives, destroy families, and kill people,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.