Saturday, October 11, 2014
Warminster woman charged with man's fentanyl drug death
Posted: Monday, October 6, 2014
Two weeks after she overdosed on what she thought was heroin, Bensalem police say Melanie Pazdan bought more of the same drug and shared it with a man who later died.
On Monday, the 24-year-old Warminster woman was charged in the April death of Robert Glatfelter, who police say suffered a cardiac arrest and died one day later after sharing what turned out to be a more powerful opiate drug with Pazdan in a Bensalem motel room.
She is the third person recently charged in Bucks County with felony drug delivery resulting in death, which, if convicted, carries a potential maximum sentence of up to 40 years in prison.
Bensalem police allege officers responded to a report of an unconscious man at a motel in the 4300 block of Old Lincoln Highway on April 22. When police arrived they found Glatfelter, who was taken to Aria Health’s Torresdale campus for treatment. Pazdan was in the room with Glatfelter when police arrived.
The next day Glatfelter died. An autopsy found his death was the result of an overdose of fentanyl, a painkiller that drug dealers use as a cutting agent with heroin. Fentanyl found in street drugs is typically not the pharmaceutical grade, but a black market version, according to drug treatment advocates.
In August, police interviewed Pazdan who told police that two weeks before Glatfelter died she bought what she believed was heroin from her Philadelphia drug dealer and overdosed on it, according to a probable cause affidavit. She also claimed that she was made aware from blood tests that the drug she overdosed on was fentanyl, not heroin, the affidavit said.
Pazdan told police that she arranged to buy heroin from the same dealer on April 22 and that the dealer told her that the drugs she was buying was the same brand she bought two weeks earlier when she overdosed, according to police. Court records did not say what brand stamp the drugs carried.
At the motel, Pazdan told police that she gave Glatfelter one bag of the drug and he ultimately used the entire bag to get high, the affidavit said. But Pazdan used only half a bag because “she knew how dangerous it was,” the affidavit said.
After they took the drugs, Pazdan said Glatfelter was “falling out,” meaning he was becoming unconscious due to an overdose.
Cellphone records show that around 2:30 p.m. Pazdan sent a text message indicating something was wrong with Glatfelter; in subsequent messages she said that Glatfelter was unconscious and asked what to do for someone who is overdosing, according to the affidavit.
But police allege that Pazdan didn’t call 911 until six hours later, the affidavit said.
Detectives Michael Moretti and Brian Oliverio, who handled the investigation, stated in court documents that police are aware that paramedics can treat opiate overdoses — including fentanyl — by quickly administering Narcan, an opiate antidote that greatly increases survival chances.
In addition to drug delivery resulting in death, Pazdan was arraigned on felony drug delivery and related charges. District Judge John Waltman set her bail at 10 percent of $500,000 and she was sent to Bucks County prison.
Pazdan — who is awaiting trial in Bucks County court on DUI charges out of Upper Southampton — is also awaiting a preliminary hearing for retail theft and receiving stolen property charges in Falls and she has an arrest warrant for receiving stolen property and theft out of Bristol Township, according to online court records.
Last month two alleged heroin dealers — Francisco Cintron, 31, of Philadelphia, and Cindy Lee Brower, 38, of Hatboro — were charged in connection with the fentanyl-overdose death of a 19-year-old Buckingham man earlier this year.
The man who died had taken the drug on March 1, went into cardiac arrest, was taken to Doylestown Hospital where he was placed on a ventilator and died the next day, according to police. At the scene of the overdose, a Buckingham officer collected several pieces of torn wax-paper packages, commonly used in heroin sales, that were stamped “Bad News,” police said.