Evansville Man Charged With Selling Fentanyl-Laced Pill to Overdose Victim

During a press conference held Tuesday, Vanderburgh County authorities said an Evansville man had been arrested and charged with Dealing in a Controlled Substance Resulting in Death in connection to the overdose death of another individual back in April of 2021.

Posted: Aug 31, 2021 11:31 AM
Updated: Sep 1, 2021 7:40 AM

Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann hosted a press conference at the Civic Center on Tuesday to discuss a recent drug-related arrest connected to an overdose death that happened back in April.

Prosecutor Hermann said 25-year-old Todd Gardner of Evansville, Indiana, had been arrested and charged with Dealing in a Controlled Substance Resulting in Death in connection to the overdose death of another individual back in April of 2021.

Todd Gardner - Vanderburgh County Jail

Based on text messages recovered through an analysis of Gardner's phone, investigators believe he sold a fentanyl-laced pill to the victim sometime on the day of April 24, 2021.

Investigators say that on April 26, the victim was found dead after apparently taking just half of one pill.

Photo of blue fentanyl pills released by EPD in April of 2021

"People have to understand how serious the fentanyl crisis and national healthcare crisis that is going on in this country, what we're having right now," said Michael Gannon with the DEA during Tuesday's press conference. "If you look at fentanyl, 2mg of fentanyl alone is considered a lethal dosage unit. That's just about the tip of a pencil."

When pharmaceutically manufactured, authorities say that the blue M 30 pills are Oxycodone pills in a 30mg dosage. Pills identical in appearance that are manufactured/distributed by street dealers, however, can contain lethal doses of the drug fentanyl.

Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding also took the time to urge the community of the dangers of fentanyl. "We haven't seen the worst of this opioid epidemic. It's still coming," Sheriff Wedding said.

Local law enforcement says, in Vanderburgh County alone, nearly half of all overdose deaths are related to fentanyl. 

"We had 67 total cases [in 2020]. We are at 56 as of today, but those numbers are about 6 weeks behind. I know we have about 14 pending cases right now that we believe are probably going to be additional overdose cases. The numbers are going to be astounding and the fentanyl is the problem," said Vanderburgh County Coroner Steve Lockyear.

Gardner remains in the Vanderburgh County Jail on a $50,000 bond.

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