Suspected drug dealer charged with third-degree murder for overdose death in Anoka last summer

Charges are filed against a man accused of supplying drugs to another man who died of an overdose.

Michael Ryan Drury, 37, of Anoka, is charged with third-degree murder for the death of 44-year-old Joseph Richard Pelletier.

The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office listed the presence of fentanyl as a contributing factor in Pelletier’s death.

A criminal complaint states that an Anoka County detective responded to a Holiday gas station in Anoka at around 5:35 p.m. on Aug. 27, 2023, to investigate an apparent overdose death.

Pelletier was found not breathing and unresponsive in the bathroom of the Holiday by medics and law enforcement. Narcan administration and other resuscitative efforts were reportedly unsuccessful.

The detective then learned from store employees that Pelletier had been a manager at the Holiday but was fired for drug use.

The same afternoon Pelletier died, he asked another employee at the Holiday to borrow money and waited in the parking lot. He then walked into the store and walked straight to the bathroom, according to the complaint.

About 30 minutes later, the manager called Pelletier’s phone, and when he didn’t answer, the manager called 911. First responders then found Pelletier’s body in the bathroom, the complaint states.

The detective then looked at surveillance footage that showed Pelletier interacting with a white sedan that was later found to belong to Drury. The detective then took Pelletier’s cell phone and saw two calls from a phone number belonging to Drury.

Court records show Pelletier was arrested for possession of fentanyl pills earlier that month. The detective also recovered phone records showing messages between Pelletier and Drury right before Pelletier’s arrest.

The complaint shows Pelletier sent a text saying, “I need you this morning bro, Hopefully for a pick me up and at least 4 blue,” with Drury responding, “doubling back to holiday now, be there in 4 minutes.”

Drury’s first appearance is set for March 15.

He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years if convicted.

Editor’s Note: This story has been corrected to reflect that Pelletier was previously arrested for possession of fentanyl pills.