US soldiers charged with selling drugs in connection to fatal overdose

“Tragically, this is not the first time my Office has charged people in connection with the overdose death of a concert-goer at the Electric Zoo festival.”

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Two U.S. Army soldiers were arrested and charged with distributing Molly to a young woman who overdosed at a rave and died two days later. After searching the service members’ barracks in New York, law enforcement officials found 55 doses of LSD and several capsules of Molly.

According to the allegations in the Complaint, Specialist Lagaria Slaughter provided a confidential informant with cocaine and LSD last year for his personal use. Slaughter told the informant that he had obtained the drugs through the dark web.

After pleading guilty to federal narcotics trafficking charges, the confidential informant agreed to cooperate with law enforcement in exchange for leniency on his sentence. Unbeknownst to Slaughter, the informant would later hand over phone records and drugs samples to the feds.

On August 31, 2018, Slaughter and the confidential informant went to a nightclub in Manhattan and met Private First Class Tanner Howell who was also stationed at Fort Drum in New York. The next day, Howell allegedly bought 57 capsules of Molly from Slaughter.

The victim reportedly picked up the drugs for Howell and ingested some before overdosing at the Electric Zoo festival. She passed away two days later at a Manhattan hospital.

After the festival, Slaughter allegedly continued supplying Molly and LSD by having the informant selling the drugs both on and off base. According to the complaint, Howell purchased several tabs of ecstasy from the informant who was working as Slaughter’s drug dealer. Howell told the informant that the victim died because she was taking several different types of drugs at the festival but failed to stay hydrated.

In October 2018, the informant told Slaughter about his conversation with Howell and about the young woman’s fatal overdose. In response, Slaughter allegedly ordered the informant to delete any drug-related text messages from his phone.

On April 24, law enforcement conducted a search of Slaughter’s barracks at Fort Drum and discovered 55 doses of LSD, ten capsules of Molly, psilocybin mushrooms, and packaging materials. Text messages recovered from Slaughter’s cellphone show the soldier offering to sell hundreds of capsules of Molly to other service members on the base.

“As alleged, Lagaria Slaughter and Tanner Howell supplied the dangerous drug Molly to a young concert-goer, who overdosed and died after using Molly and other drugs,” stated U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman. “Tragically, this is not the first time my Office has charged people in connection with the overdose death of a concert-goer at the Electric Zoo festival.”

On Tuesday, Slaughter was charged with one count of conspiring to distribute Molly and LSD, and one count of distributing and possessing with intent to distribute Molly. Both counts carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Howell was charged with one count of distributing and possessing with intent to distribute Molly, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

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