Men accused of supplying fentanyl to victims who died
Three men charged in two separate Santa Barbara County cases with murder for allegedly supplying fentanyl to two victims who overdosed and died last year are scheduled to return to court next month to have dates set for their preliminary hearings.
One of the men, Dillon Johnson, 35, is charged in one of the cases.
Two others — Jonathan Eric Fleischer, 41, and Edward William Wysel, 52 — are charged in the other case.
All three defendants appeared in court last week to set dates for their respective preliminary hearings, but both cases were continued to March 13, according to Senior Deputy Attorney Anthony S. Davis.
Mr. Fleischer and Mr. Wysel are charged with murder in the death of Z. Raymond, prosecutors said in their complaint. The victim died sometime between Aug. 8 and Aug. 10.
The two defendants also are charged with the possession and transportation for sale of a controlled substance, fentanyl.
The charge carries special allegations that, among other things, they caused great bodily injury to the victim, that the crime disclosed a high degree of cruelty, viciousness or callousness, and that their violent conduct indicates a serious danger to society.
The case stemmed from an OD investigation by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. No other details were available.
It was the second case filed by the District Attorney’s Office involving people charged with murder for supplying drugs to someone who died as a result.
The first involved Mr. Nelson. Santa Barbara police officers were dispatched April 29 to the 100 block of State Street for a report of a found body. The deceased 30-year-old man, Mathew Justin Dyet, was discovered with narcotics and drug paraphernalia in his possession, police said, adding that his cause of death was determined to be acute fentanyl intoxication.
The investigation by Santa Barbara police detectives and the District Attorney’s Office took months, but detectives were able to identify Mr. Johnson as the alleged drug dealer who allegedly supplied Mr. Dyet with the fentanyl that caused his death.
Detectives served the warrant Sept. 1 and arrested Mr. Johnson in the 7100 block of Hollister Avenue in Goleta. A search conducted after his arrest allegedly revealed quantities of narcotics that constitute possession with the intent to distribute, police said.
Prosecutors charged him with murder, alleging he directly supplied Mr. Dyet with the fentanyl that caused his death between April 28 and 29. He also was charged with the possession and transportation for sale of fentanyl.
Former District Attorney Joyce Dudley said at the time that when “anyone who knew or should have known that their actions could cause death to another, the appropriate charge is murder.”
“As Joyce indicated, these are the first two cases of their kind filed locally, where individuals were charged with murder for providing drugs leading to someone’s death,” Mr. Davis added. “Her comments, regarding innocence until proven guilty, as well as the appropriateness of charging anyone with murder under such circumstances, apply to all three charged defendants.”