Police tracing source of painkiller
More than five months after Prince’s fatal drug overdose, investigators have narrowed their focus to two main questions: whether doctors illegally prescribed opioids meant for the pop star and whether the fentanyl that killed him came from a black-market source, a law enforcement official has said.
Those lines of inquiry raise the prospect that a doctor or doctors could be charged with writing unlawful prescriptions and that a separate suspect or set of suspects with ties to narcotics trafficking could be charged with supplying the fatal dose.
Prince was 57 when he was found on April 21 in an elevator at his suburban Minneapolis studio and estate. Authorities have revealed little publicly about their investigation, saying only that the probe is ongoing.
The law enforcement official who described the investigation has knowledge of the inquiry but spoke on condition of anonymity.
Investigations of fatal overdoses can be lengthy and complex, especially when drug traffickers or other underworld figures are involved.
Ryan Pacyga, a criminal defence lawyer who is not connected to the Prince case, said law enforcement is not going to rush unless there is a risk to the public or immediate danger to others.
In typical drug cases, investigators will subpoena documents including computer files, emails and financial records. When looking at where the fentanyl came from, they will “follow the money” and look at orders, shipments and the bank accounts or credit cards that made payments.
DECEASED: Prince died of an overdose in April