Carfentanil killing suspect gets bond reduction
Samuel Brunelus charged with assault in overdose deaths of suspected drug dealers
EAGLE — A Florida man accused of contributing to two drug overdose deaths may be out of jail soon, but he won’t be leaving Colorado.
A grand jury indicted Samuel Brunelus on assault charges in the March 2017 drug overdose deaths of a pair of men, one a suspected drug dealer, Brunelus’ defense attorney says. The men were living at a residence in Blue Lake, a neighborhood located in the middle of the Roaring Fork Valley.
Following a November 2017 preliminary hearing, District Court Judge Fred Gannett released Brunelus and dismissed manslaughter charges, saying there was not enough evidence to bring Brunelus to trial.
However, after Gannett’s ruling, a grand jury indicted Brunelus on assault charges in connection with the deaths, and he was returned to Eagle County.
Brunelus is accused of participating in shipping pills laced with carfentanil from Florida to Eagle County. Those same pills are the ones suspected of killing two Roaring Fork Valley men.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation confirmed that the capsules contained heroin laced with carfentanil. A carfentanil particle the size of a grain of sand or salt could be fatal, Eagle County Sheriff’s Office Det. Aaron Veldheer said.
Carfentanil, also known as carfentanyl, is a synthetic opioid powerful enough to tranquilize elephants. DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg said the drug is surfacing in more and more communities and is often disguised as heroin.
Not completely free
In a hearing Wednesday, Brunelus’ defense attorney Rick Douglas asked District Court Judge Paul Dunkelman for a personal recognizance bond, meaning Brunelus could be released without posting any money.
Brunelus was being held in the Eagle County jail on $30,000 bond. Judge Dunkelman reduced the bond to $15,000, but with a several conditions.
Brunelus told the court that he’s a heating and air conditioning technician. Douglas said he wants Brunelus working 12-15 hours a day. Brunelus will also be subject to monitoring for his location and will be allowed to be away from his residence from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., and longer if he’s working.
‘They just dropped’
The episode started around 5 a.m. March 24, 2017, when Michael Martinez, 26, and Camillo Sanchez, 30, were found dead by a fourth man living in a Blue Lake home shared by Sanchez, Martinez and Alexander Raywood.
Douglas said that in the 900 pages of discovery, 49 voice mails indicate that both Sanchez and a man in Florida were drug dealers.
The fourth man woke up just before 5 a.m., checked the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus schedule, walked to his room and then to the kitchen where he saw Sanchez on the kitchen floor, his face covering a heating vent, Eagle County Sheriff’s detective George Dow said during a hearing.
Sanchez was “stiff and cold to the touch,” Dow said.
The man checked around the house and found Martinez, also “cold and stiff to the touch,” Dow said.
Both men died quickly and, it seemed, in the same manner, Veldheer said during the preliminary hearing. There was no sign of a struggle or fight, Veldheer said.
“They just dropped,” Veldheer said.
Raywood was found on the couch, still alive but making gurgling sounds, Dow testified.
That fourth man called 911, and Eagle County Sheriff’s deputies were there in moments. They treated Raywood with Narcan, which counters the effects of an opiate overdose long enough to get the victim medical help, Veldheer testified. Raywood was rushed to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs.
The pills were delivered at 9 p.m., March 23, 2017. Martinez and Sanchez’ bodies were found at 5 a.m. the next morning.
One vehicle came to rest in the eastbound lanes of I-70 and the second vehicle came to rest on North Frontage Road. One occupant of each vehicle was ejected during the crash.