A Franklin County grand jury April 7 indicted a Columbus man on several felony charges, including one count of involuntary manslaughter, in the opiate-overdose death of a Grandview Heights resident in January.
The criminal charges against Cory Lynn Wesley McDowell, 46, of Colby Avenue include involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony; corrupting another with drugs, a second-degree felony; trafficking in heroin and trafficking in cocaine, both fifth-degree felonies; and aggravated trafficking in drugs, a fourth-degree felony.
McDowell also was indicted on felony charges of possession of cocaine and aggravated possession of drugs. Those charges resulted from the March 16 narcotics search warrant investigators conducted at McDowell's home.
Fentanyl and evidence of drug trafficking were found at McDowell's home, police said.
The indictment resulted from the investigation following the Jan. 7 overdose of Ronald R. Ireson, 33, of Grandview.
Grandview officers responded to Ireson's home in the 1300 block of West First Avenue after receiving a report of an overdose, police Sgt. Ryan Starns said. Medics administered several doses of Narcan before taking Ireson to the Ohio State University Medical Center, where he died Jan. 13, Starns said.
The cause of death was acute intoxication by the combined effects of cocaine, opiates and fentanyl, according to Franklin County Prosecutor Attorney Ron O'Brien's office.
"We've had a few opiate overdoses (recently), but this is the first one that was fatal," Starns said. "In a community our size, something like this really hits home. This was something we wanted to make sure we followed up on to bring the person who was responsible to justice."
Evidence found at the scene Jan. 7 pointed toward McDowell, he said.
"He was on our radar from day one," Starns said. "It took a couple of months to get everything we needed to allow the prosecutor's office to get the indictment."
The investigation was conducted with the assistance of the Franklin County Sheriff's Office and its Heroin Overdose Prevention & Education Task Force, he said.
"They provided resources and expertise that helped further our investigation," he said.
The H.O.P.E. Task Force was established in 2016 and created as a restructuring of the Franklin County Drug Task Force, according to the Franklin County Sheriff's Office website.
Task force members treat the scenes of opiate overdoses as crime scenes and work to investigate and identify the source of the drugs that caused the overdose. Grandview police are beginning a partnership with the task force and the sheriff's office, Starns said.
"We'll be looking to assist the survivors of overdoses (to) get the help they need to recover and avoid a relapse by linking them with the right resources and health care services," he said. "At the same time, we will be working with them to pursue criminal indictments of the people who bear responsibility by supplying the drugs."