Man held for trial in drug death

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Evan Brandt ebrandt@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @PottstownNews on Twit­ter

A 25-year-old Phoenixville man is headed to trial on a long list of charges stem­ming from a drug over­dose death with which he has been con­nected by po­lice.

A tox­i­col­ogy re­port com­pleted on July 17 on the de­ceased 34-year-old Phoenixville man showed he died of acute car­fen­tanil tox­i­c­ity, ac­cord­ing to the Ch­ester County Coroner’s Of­fice.

The death was the first in Ch­ester County con­nected with the ele­phant tran­quil­izer car­fen­tanil.

Ac­cord­ing to a post on the Phoenixville Po­lice Face­book page, Ma­lik Grasty will stand trial as a re­sult of drugs he al­legedly pro­vided caus­ing the over­dose death.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­gan on July 4, when po­lice were called to a res­i­dence in the 300 block of Sec­ond Av­enue for a heroin over­dose.

Po­lice de­ter­mined the in­ci­dent to be a drug over­dose af­ter find­ing heroin and para­pher­na­lia in plain view near the man’s body.

Po­lice said they found sev­eral empty heroin bags stamped with dif­fer­ent phrases in­clud­ing “Chapo,” “Wells Fargo” and “New Ar­rival” at the scene where the de­ceased was dis­cov­ered. In ad­di­tion to a hy­po­der­mic nee­dle, au­thor­i­ties also lo­cated four bags still con­tain­ing heroin and stamped with ”New Ar­rival.”

On July 5, an un­der­cover

of­fi­cer ar­ranged a drug trans­ac­tion with “Kevin D” us­ing the de­ceased’s phone. Po­lice ar­ranged for “Kevin D” to de­liver 12 bags of heroin in the area of St. Mary’s Street and South Street, po­lice said. Po­lice re­quested that “Kevin D” de­liver the drugs to their ve­hi­cle and he was taken into cus­tody by of­fi­cers once he ar­rived.

“Kevin D,” later iden­ti­fied as Da­mon Eskridge, had been in pos­ses­sion of 12 bags of heroin stamped with the words, “New Ar­rival,” ac­cord­ing to court records.

Eskridge waived his pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing in Septem­ber, af­ter be­ing ar­rested as the re­sult of an un­der­cover po­lice op­er­a­tion.

The lat­est court ap­pear­ance in­di­cates po­lice be­lieve Grasty to be Eskridge’s co-con­spir­a­tor.

“The in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­vealed that the vic­tim died be­cause the heroin he pur­chased from Grasty’s co­con­spir­a­tor, Da­mon Eskridge was laced with the po­tent syn­thetic opioid

car­fen­tanil,” po­lice wrote.

Grasty was ar­rested on Aug. 22 af­ter search war­rants were served at mul­ti­ple lo­ca­tions in Phoenixville by Phoenixville de­tec­tives and Ch­ester County Drug Task Force of­fi­cers.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors de­ter­mined that Grasty supplied Eskridge with the tainted heroin that was de­liv­ered to the vic­tim. In­ves­ti­ga­tors also re­cov­ered a 9 mm hand­gun with an oblit­er­ated se­rial num­ber and were able to link the gun to Grasty, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

Fol­low­ing a pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing Nov. 8, Grasty is headed to trial in Ch­ester County Com­mon Pleas Court in West Ch­ester on charges of drug de­liv­ery re­sult­ing in death, deal­ing in un­law­ful pro­ceeds, crim­i­nal con­spir­acy, felon not to pos­sess a firearm, pos­ses­sion of a firearm with an oblit­er­ated se­rial num­ber, pos­ses­sion of a con­trolled sub­stance with in­tent to de­liver, and nu­mer­ous other un­der­ly­ing drug charges.

Ma­lik Grasty

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