ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Two Alaska men have been arrested in connection with two overdoses, including a fatality, involving counterfeit pills that may have been contaminated with fentanyl, a report said.
Jeremy Krone, 37, and Michael Gundersen, 44, were charged with manslaughter, The Anchorage Daily News reported Wednesday.
Raylene Kochuten, 26, of the community of King Cove, died Sept. 1 of a suspected drug overdose after being found in a shed in Sand Point on Popof Island, police said.
The previous day a man was found responsive with signs of a drug overdose in Sand Point and flown off the island for medical treatment, authorities said.
The two overdoses were related and the pills may still be circulating in the community, police said in a statement.
“The drugs taken were small blue 30 milligram counterfeit Oxycodone Hydrochloride pills,” police said. “Some of these pills may be contaminated by Fentanyl and are extremely dangerous.”
Krone and Gundersen will be represented by the Public Defender’s Agency, but neither had been assigned attorneys as of Wednesday afternoon. Preliminary hearings for the two Sand Point men are set for Sept. 12.
Emergency responders “fought hard and long to save these individuals,” the Sand Point Department of Public Safety said in a social media post.
Sand Point is a commercial fishing community in the Aleutians East Borough. Popof Island had “an opioid issue” and problems with other drugs when Police Chief Hal Henning arrived in 2017, he said in an email Wednesday.
An Alaska State Troopers’ interdiction team has reduced illegal drug flow to the island and Kochuten’s death was the first fatal opioid overdose in the community since he joined the department, Henning said.
Information from: Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com