A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging a Collinsville woman with dealing the lethal dose of fentanyl that caused a man to overdose and die.
Tessa R. Webber, 25, is charged with a single count of distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death.
If convicted, she could face 20 years to life in a federal prison.
According to the criminal complaint, Fairview Heights Police have been investigating the suspected overdose since June 11, when a roommate of the victim, identified only as a male with the initials D.M., found him unresponsive on the floor in his room.
Investigating officers noted that D.M. was cold to the touch and that rigor mortis had set in.
The roommate said he wasn’t aware that D.M. was at the home in the 8900 block of Pleasantview Road in Fairview Heights, but checked his room at the behest of D.M.’s girlfriend, who was concerned that he wasn’t answering his phone.
The girlfriend and other family members confirmed that D.M. had a history of drug use and had just been released from an in-patient drug rehabilitation center.
Police found a syringe near D.M.’s body and noted a bruise and possible puncture wound on his arm, just above the elbow, the court records state. Autopsy and toxicology reports later confirmed D.M.’s death was caused by a drug overdose, including amphetamines, meth, fentanyl and “other legal substances.”
Investigators also located D.M.’s cell phone, which court records say revealed a lengthy string of texts between D.M. and Webber.
“Get ahold (sic) of me if you need any,” one of the messages from Webber said, according to the criminal complaint. “I’ll hook you up good dude.”
According to an affidavit from a detective, Webber also had sent text and Facebook Messenger messages to at least 10 others, offering them “pills” and “ice cream,” which the criminal complaint interprets as fentanyl and crystal methamphetamine.
Police interviewed Webber on Aug. 8, while she was being held at the St. Clair County Jail on another drug-related charge as well as charges of eluding police. She admitted to investigators then that she was a drug addict and was dealing illegal substances to support her habit, according to the complaint. She told them she purchased fentanyl from her St. Louis supplier at $2 per pill and sold them for $5.
On the same day she spoke to police, the jail recorded a phone conversation between Webber and her mother. Webber told her mother “I sold (D.M.) two pills that killed him and I’m getting charged with drug-induced homicide,” the court records say.
Webber said during the police interview that she’d been dealing drugs to D.M. for “every bit of four years.”
Additional evidence against Webber was gathered during a search of her home and through cell phone records, according to court records.
She is being held at the St. Clair County Jail. Webber will be represented in court by federal public defender Todd Schultz.
“Too many lives are lost due to drug-induced homicides,” U.S. Attorney Rachelle Aud Crowe for the Southern District of Illinois said in a release. “Law enforcement agencies are working to secure justice for families of overdose victims.”