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Drug charges could follow Woodbury teen's death

The Washington County district attorney isn't messing around when it comes to pressing charges after drug overdoses in his county, especially when the lives of young people are involved.

In 2013, six people died in the Minnesota county as a result of overdoses and the county attorney said suspected drug suppliers are being pursued vigorously in effort to stop the "scourge."

Police are currently trying to determine whether the death of a Woodbury teenager Saturday was the result of a drug overdose. The 17-year-old woman was found unresponsive at her parents' home Saturday morning and was pronounced dead at Regions Hospital in St. Paul.

The county attorney said that if tests reveal that the death was drug-related, he is determined to "go all the way up the tree to the top branch" to find exactly who was responsible for supplying the drugs so that he could "wring their damn neck.”

Apparently, two 17-year-old boys and an 18-year-old man from Woodbury were arrested on suspicion of third-degree murder and were released pending charges. Minnesota prosecutors have frequently been charging suspected drug suppliers in overdose cases with third-degree murder.

Because third-degree murder is such as serious charge, it is possible that the two 17-year-olds could be charged as adults. Undoubtedly, the charges could also ruin the lives of the young people who have been accused of supplying the drugs in addition to the young woman who lost her life.

In November, a 22-year-old Twin Cities woman plead guilty to third-degree murder after supplying a Scandia man with methadone which he overdosed on and died from in August 2012. The woman will be sentenced in February and could face years in prison.

Prosecutors all over the state of Minnesota are cracking down on drug suppliers in overdose cases. Anyone who faces third-degree murder charges for allegedly supplying drugs in an overdose case will need an experienced attorney on his or her side to avoid spending significant time in prison.

Source: Star Tribune, "3 arrested, freed in Woodbury teen’s suspicious death at her home," Joy Powell, Jan. 16, 2014

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Christa Jacqueline Groshek
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