St. Paul man charged with third-degree murder in connection to fatal overdose

Aries Andres Velez Photo: Ramsey County
Aries Andres Velez

February 15, 2019 11:09 AM

A 20-year-old St. Paul man has been charged with third-degree murder after authorities allege he sold $10 worth of heroin that could have been laced with fentanyl to a 21-year-old man who died of a fatal overdose soon after.

Court records show Aries Andres Velez was charged with third-degree murder (sell/give/distribute a controlled substance) in Ramsey County.

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According to the criminal complaint, the 21-year-old had been discovered unresponsive in his car on March 31, 2018 on the 1600 block of Westminster Street in St. Paul by a man who said they had met recently and had begun to hang out together. The man reportedly said the 21-year-old was a heroin user, and that he had overdosed two or three months earlier.

The complaint states the 21-year-old's mother had reported him missing when he did not return home on March 30. The mother said she saw that her son had made a $10 cash withdrawal from a Walgreen's on Rice Street in Maplewood at around 7:30 p.m. that night.

She also reportedly said her son had a problem with pills, but that he had been clean for a while.

The man who discovered him said he had come to the Westminster Street address after he got off work on March 30 to "smoke marijuana." He then apparently "asked if anyone had any heroin." The man said Velez left and returned a short time later. He believed the 21-year-old bought $10 worth of heroin from Velez, then "went to his car to chill out."

The man said that occurred around 10 or 11 p.m. and marked the last time he saw the 21-year-old alive.

The complaint goes on to state Velez was in custody at the Ramsey County Jail on May 23 when he admitted to selling the 21-year-old the heroin, saying he kept $5 and gave $5 to the man who discovered the 21-year-old for letting Velez stay at his house. Velez reportedly said both men smoked the heroin, but that he didn't try it himself.

According to the complaint, Velez acknowledged the heroin may have had fentanyl in it, though he denied putting it there himself. He reportedly said that was the way he bought it from his supplier, and that he had overdosed in the past from drugs he had gotten from that individual.

The complaint goes on to state an autopsy on the 21-year-old revealed he had THC, fentanyl, norfentanyl and acetyl fentanyl in his system. He did not have morphine or 6-monoacetylmorphine - heroin metabolites - in his system. The autopsy concluded he died of mixed drug toxicity.

The complaint states Velez is currently in the custody of the Minnesota Department of Corrections with an expected release date of April 27, 2020.

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