Man charged in fa­tal drug over­dose faces trial.

The Phoenix - - FRONT PAGE - By Mar­ian Dennis mden­nis@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Mar­i­anDen­nis1 on Twit­ter

A Phoenixville man charged in the first car­fen­tanil death in Ch­ester County will be head­ing to trial.

Da­mon Eskridge, 20, waived his right to a pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing Wed­nes­day be­fore Dis­trict Judge Theodore Michaels on var­i­ous drug re­lated charges.

Ac­cord­ing to court dock­ets, Eskridge is fac­ing two sets of charges from July. One set from July 5 in­cludes charges of man­u­fac­ture, pos­ses­sion or de­liv­ery with in­tent, use or pos­ses­sion of drug para­pher­na­lia, crim­i­nal use of a com­mu­ni­ca­tion fa­cil­ity, crim­i­nal so­lic­i­ta­tion and re­sist­ing ar­rest with a bail of $15,000. An­other, dated July 18, in­volves the charge of drug de­liv­ery re­sult­ing in death with a bail of $1 mil­lion. One count of con­spir­acy was added to both dock­ets dur­ing court pro­ceed­ings on Wed­nes­day.

His for­mal ar­raign­ment is sched­uled for Oct. 5.

Eskridge was charged after po­lice re­sponded to the 300 block of Sec­ond Av­enue on July 4 at around 11:50 p.m. Upon ar­rival, po­lice found a 34-year-old man on his back, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments. 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.” In ad­di­tion to a hy­po­der­mic needle, au­thor­i­ties also lo­cated four bags still con­tain­ing heroin and stamped with ”New Ar- ri­val.”

Po­lice searched through a phone be­long­ing to the de­ceased and found con­ver­sa­tions they be­lieved to be re­lated to a drug deal, ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit of prob­a­ble cause. Po­lice said text mes­sages were with a con­tact la­beled “Kevin D” and in­cluded a meet­ing lo­ca­tion and price for the al­leged pur­chase.

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 Eskridge, had been in pos­ses­sion of 12 bags of heroin stamped with the­words, “New Ar­rival.”

A tox­i­col­ogy report com­pleted on July 17 on the de­ceased vic­tim showed he died of acute car­fen­tanil tox­i­c­ity, ac­cord­ing to the Ch­ester County Coro­ner’s Of­fice.

The in­ci­dent was the first re­ported ap­pear­ance of car­fen­tanil in Ch­ester County, ac­cord­ing to au­thor­i­ties.

Da­mon Eskridge

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