Minneapolis man charged with murder in man’s overdose

A Minneapolis man is now charged with murder in connection to a fatal overdose last month.

Eric Montel Traft-Johnson, 24, is charged with third-degree murder, which carries a penalty of up to 25 years in jail and a $40,000 fine if convicted.

Court documents state that members of the Minneapolis Fire Department and the city’s Behavioral Crisis Response Team found the victim on the night of Nov. 9 while conducting a welfare check. An autopsy later determined he died from mixed drug toxicity, including from cocaine, fentanyl, hydroxyzine and alcohol.

A criminal complaint states the victim’s aunt, who lives in New York, had called police to check on him because she hadn’t heard from him after he messaged her earlier that morning.

The victim’s aunt told police that he’d texted her at around 2 a.m. saying he was having sleeping issues and was going to buy pills to help him but he didn’t trust the person he was buying the pills from. He then texted her the seller’s address, phone number and Snapchat handle in case something went wrong.

Another friend of the victim’s told police a similar account, noting that the victim would occasionally text about going to buy drugs in the past but never provided so much explicit information for the seller.

Investigators found the phone number was associated with Traft-Johnson and, through cellphone location data, saw that he and the victim were both near the address the victim texted to his aunt, court documents state. Police also noted that nobody else was seen on surveillance video entering the victim’s apartment until he was found dead.

Police arrested Traft-Johnson on Thursday and found “M30” pills on him, the complaint states. While the pills are made to look like oxycodone, they were fake and contained fentanyl.

Traft-Johnson is scheduled to make his first court appearance Monday afternoon.