First arrest made in teen's overdose death
The first formal charges and an arrest have been made in relation to last year's synthetic drug overdose death of Fredericksburg High School sophomore Samuel (Sammy) Herrera.
Robert Gavin Jeffrey, 19, of Fredericksburg, was indicted on two state jail felony charges — “Criminally Negligent Homicide” and “Delivery of Dangerous Drug” — by the Gillespie County Grand Jury on Monday, April 7.
“And, we’re not done yet,” said Fredericksburg Police Department Detective Javier Sanchez, lead investigator on the case since Herrera's death due to the synthetic drug "25b-NBOMe" nearly a year ago on April 20, 2013.
Jeffrey, who has been accused of supplying Herrera with the synthetic hallucinogenic drug, turned himself in to authorities on Thursday, April 10, and bonded out of the Gillespie County Jail on the same day, Sanchez said.
Jeffrey posted a $25,000 bond on the criminally negligent homicide charge and another $10,000 bond on the delivery of a dangerous drug charge, the detective added.
The investigation is ongoing, Sanchez said, noting that others suspected of involvement in the Herrera overdose death are expected to go before the grand jury during its next session on Monday, May 5.
“A petition showing delinquency will be filed against a juvenile for a misdemeanor” and “a civil petition will be filed against another juvenile for a felony” — all related to the Herrera overdose death, said Gillespie County Attorney Chris Nevins on Monday afternoon.
The identifications of the two juveniles and the specific charges they will face were not disclosed due to juvenile privacy issues, Nevins said.
Juvenile law is civil law, not criminal, and parties are not found guilty, but instead found “delinquent.”
Technically, prosecutors could seek a “determinate sentencing” which means that the accused juvenile, if found delinquent, could face punishment extended beyond his or her 18th birthday.
“We are not turning a blind eye,” Nevins said. “We are working really hard and diligently. This is only a portion of the effort that we are pushing forward."
“Every day, we get stronger and more aggressive,” he said, adding that “this is just one portion of it — one sad portion, a very tragic portion.”
At the time of Herrera’s death, 25b-NBOMe was not considered an illegal drug, but on Nov. 15, 2013 the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency placed it in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act making it an illicit drug.
The newness of the synthetic compound set investigators back as the forensics lab had to develop a test to identify the substance.
Once that test was developed, the substance was identified in Herrera’s blood sample and “complications of 25b-NBOMe intoxication” was listed as his cause of death in an amended autopsy finding issued in December 2013 by Dr. Suzanna Dana, medical examiner of Central Texas Autopsy in Lockhart.
Read more in this week’s Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post.