The five defendants, ranging from 17 to 19, were allegedly part of a drug-dealing ring that enabled the sale of 25i-NOBMe to 17-year-old Tara Fitzgerald, who thought she was buying LSD. Police found Fitzgerald in a local home on January 11 where she was unresponsive and taken to the hospital. She died shortly after being checked in.
Friends told police she had taken LSD, but toxicology reports found 25i-NOBMe in her system, a similar hallucinogen that is often incorrectly colloquialized as "acid," the most common street name for LSD.
"We're sending that message that the suppliers are going to be held fully to account," Washington County Attorney Pete Orput told reporters Wednesday.
"There's a big lesson to be had out of this," Orput continued. "The lesson is: Guys, this isn't harmless. Handing out drugs to each other isn't harmless. This isn't a bag of weed. ... Nobody's dying from that stuff."
Washington County Sheriff Bill Hutton praised prosecutors efforts, calling hard drug use in Minnesota an epidemic.
"The question needs to be asked: when is enough enough?" Hutton said. "People have to stand up and say we're done with this, this is enough. We have to have solutions and cooperation from everybody to make it stop."