crimesider

5 charged in 17-year-old Minn. girl's drug overdose death

CBS News

MINNEAPOLIS - Two adults and three juveniles have been charged in connection with a Minnesota teen's death earlier this year, the Washington County Attorney's Office announced Wednesday.

County Attorney Pete Orput says his office charged all the suspects with third-degree murder. The charged have been identified as Alexander Clausen, 19; Cole Matenaer, 19; Sydney Johnson, 17; Alistair Berg, 17; and Brian Norlander, 17, reports CBS Minnesota.

The Star Tribune reports that the juveniles are being charged as adults.

According to the criminal complaint, at 9:10 a.m. on Jan. 11, 2014, Woodbury Police responded to a report of an unresponsive female. She had reportedly ingested a drug similar to acid or LSD. The 17-year-old Woodbury girl, identified by the Star Tribune as Tara Fitzgerald, was taken to Regions Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

An investigation later revealed the victim had ingested a synthetic drug called 25i-NBOMe, which is a Schedule I Controlled Substance, according to the station.

The drug had reportedly been passed between the five charged. It was initially sold by Claussen to Matenaer, who sold the drug to Johnson, who sold the drug to Berg, who later sold the drug to Norlander who then sold the drug to the victim, according to the station.

The Ramsey County Medical Examiner says the victim died from complications of the drug's toxicity.

"When an illegal drug enters our community, all of those involved - those who create it, sell it or give it away - are responsible for what happens with that drug," Orput said. "We are especially concerned with those individuals who distribute illegal drugs to juveniles. We will prosecute those individuals to the full extent of what the law allows."

The charges are a result of a joint investigation conducted by Woodbury Police and the Washington County Sheriff's Office.