Eagle County detectives arrest Florida man in connection with carfentanil, or elephant tranquilizer, overdoses
Detectives with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday arrested a Florida man in connection with the death of the two men who overdosed on carfentanil in their Blue Lake home in March.
Samuel Brunelus, 23, of Deerfield, Florida, is charged with two counts of manslaughter and distribution of a controlled substance, all felonies. Michael Martinez, 26, and Camillo Sanchez, 30, were found dead March 24 inside the house.
In collaboration with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Agency, two Eagle County detectives arrested Brunelus in Deerfield.
The law enforcement agencies “found evidence that linked (Brunelus) to the drugs that supplied the two victims with the carfentanil,” Eagle County Public Information Officer Jessie Porter said Wednesday.
Officers “obtained phone records and other evidence at the crime scene,” a four-bedroom residence at 108 Ermine Lane in Blue Lake, Porter said.
She declined to say what other evidence the officers found.
In late April, police confirmed pills found inside the home contained heroin laced with carfentanil. At that time, a law enforcement source told The Aspen Times that inside the house officers found an open package from Florida that may have contained the pills.
A third man was found unresponsive in the home but was revived, recovered and moved to Florida.
Carfentanil is a highly toxic elephant tranquilizer capable of killing a person within minutes of contact.
In May, Eagle County Sheriff James Van Beek wrote a guest editorial in The Aspen Times in which he called carfentanil “the nuclear bomb of drugs.”
“A slight whiff or dust on the fingers can immediately slow respiration and heart rate until it stops,” Van Beek wrote. He added, “Even if the victim survives, there is a strong possibility of permanent brain damage due to a lack of oxygen.”
Chuck Rosenberg of the Drug Enforcement Agency said Wednesday in a statement, “We see (carfentanil) on the streets often disguised as heroin.”
“It is crazy dangerous. … I hope our first responders and the public will read and heed our health and safety warning,” Rosenberg wrote.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation in its lab report about the overdoses warn law enforcement officers to be careful when responding to overdose calls “because a small amount of this drug can be deadly.”
Van Beek and other local law enforcement officers have spoken out about the dangers and increasing presence of carfentanil nationally and throughout the state.
“Knowing that this deadly drug had the potential to reach the Eagle County community has been a growing concern of mine,” the sheriff said in the statement. “Because of this concern the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office and other Eagle County emergency responders have been issued and trained in administering ‘Narcan,'” a medicine that blocks the effects of opioids and temporarily reverses an overdose.
Brunelus is detained in the Broward County Detention Facility with a $50,000 cash bond. He is currently awaiting extradition to Colorado.
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