Man arrested after 3 die in North Carolina from cocaine use

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 09, 2014 12:22 AM

(Reuters) - North Carolina authorities have arrested a man after three people died and 10 were made sick at the weekend after using cocaine laced with a potent painkiller, police said on Monday.

Edwin Pennix, 38, was jailed on Sunday and charged with three felony counts of cocaine and marijuana distribution, along with two counts of probation violation, the Chatham County Sheriff Department said in a statement on Monday.

Pennix is being held on a bond of $260,000 and is set to appear in court on Dec. 17, police said.

Investigators said the victims used powder cocaine mixed with the narcotic Fentanyl within hours of each other in Bear Creek and Siler City in central North Carolina.

Michael Currie, a 42-year-old Bear Creek man, died at his home. Randal Welch, 24, and Perry Saunders, 23, died at another residence in Bear Creek, the department said.

Four people were treated at the different scenes and six were taken to hospitals, the department said.

Cocaine and Fentanyl, which is used to treat severe pain, are especially dangerous when mixed together, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner; Additional reporting by Brendan O'Brien; Editing by Paul Tait)