Florida man busted in pair of Eagle County carfentanil overdose deaths
BLUE LAKE — A Florida man is facing manslaughter charges for his alleged part in two overdose deaths in Eagle County.
Samuel Brunelus, 23, was arrested in Deerfield, Florida, after Eagle County Sheriff’s detectives linked him to two overdose deaths March 24 in the Roaring Fork Valley area of Eagle County.
Michael Martinez, 26, and Camillo Sanchez, 30, were found dead by a roommate in the Blue Lake home. Brunelus’ arrest follows an investigation lasting several months, the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
Eagle County Sheriff’s investigators seized nine clear capsules from the scene in the Blue Lake subdivision. A Colorado Bureau of Investigation analysis found that each capsule contained an off-white powder that turned out to be a mixture of heroin and carfentanil.
Through analysis of the evidence collected at the crime scene and scouring phone records, detectives were able to link Brunelus to the deaths and the capsules, the Sheriff’s Office said.
The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office worked with the Fort Lauderdale Police Departments Special Investigations Unit and the Drug Enforcement Admininstration, and took Brunelus into custody. He is being held in the Broward County jail on a $50,000 cash bond.
He faces two counts of manslaughter, both Class 4 felonies, and distribution of a Schedule II controlled substance, a Class 2 drug felony. Brunelus will be transferred to Eagle County to face trial.
“Doing any illegal drugs is foolish and harmful to your health and the health of those around you, but drug dealers are now lacing other more sociably acceptable drugs with fentanyl and carfentanil and causing deaths throughout the United States,” said Eagle County Sheriff James van Beek.
Carfentanil is a synthetic opioid powerful enough to tranquilize elephants, and is surfacing in more and more communities, and is often disguised as heroin, said DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg.
“It is crazy dangerous,” Rosenberg said. “Synthetics such as fentanyl and carfentanil can kill you. I hope our first responders — and the public — will read and heed our health and safety warning.”
“We would like to thank the Fort Lauderdale Police Departments Special Investigations Unit and the Drug Enforcement Agency for all of their assistance in the apprehension of this suspect,” van Beek said.
Carfentanil isn’t prevalent in Eagle County — yet, van Beek said.
“Knowing that this deadly drug had the potential to reach the Eagle County community has been a growing concern of mine,” van Beek said.
That’s one reason local law enforcement and other first responders have started carrying Narcan, which temporarily counteracts the effects of opioids in people, van Beek said.
Carfentanil and other fentanyl-related compounds can come in several forms, including powder, blotter paper, tablets and spray. They can be absorbed easily through the skin or accidentally inhaled.
If you think you have encountered it, call the police, van Beek said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.