SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — So far this year, Sioux Falls police have seized just over 308 grams of the deadly synthetic opioid, fentanyl. While it doesn’t sound like a lot, it’s actually tens of thousands of potentially fatal doses. In August, three people in Sioux Falls died after taking illegal drugs laced with fentanyl.
KELOLAND News first brought you the story “Little Lethal Pills” in August, of the two young men who were both friends and coworkers.
After an August night of partying, 23-year-old Josh Steinfurth and 24-year-old Tanner Schultz overdosed and died after buying, crushing up and snorting, a couple of pills that they believed were prescription opioids.
Now comes an arrest in the case, but the families of the two men say the charges fall short of the crime.
Tanner Schultz’ mother, Marcia Leonard, is struggling to make it through the first holiday season without her son.
“It’s the first Christmas. His daughter’s birthday was two days ago. He had to miss that. Thanksgiving was rough. I sat at his grave for 2-3 hours at Thanksgiving. It’s just.. it’s not easy,” Leonard said.
Her surviving son, Tyler, is facing ingestion charges after overdosing, along with his brother. Tyler was saved with Narcan.
Tyler told investigators that 24-year-old Terrell Larry, of Sioux Falls, sold them the pills.
According to the affidavit in the criminal case, another anonymous informant told investigators he purchased 20 pills from Larry and that, “the pills Larry sells contain fentanyl.”
Larry’s ex-girlfriend also told investigators that Larry was selling and using fentanyl and that he had stopped temporarily, once he found out “he was responsible for someone’s overdose death.” The ex-girlfriend told investigators that Larry was “freaking out” and said, “I think two kids I served overdosed.” She said he left town the next day. But according to the affidavit, Larry returned to Sioux falls and continued to sell drugs in October, doing most of his deals through Snapchat.
Larry is now in the Minnehaha County jail facing four felony counts of drug possession and distribution to the two men who died.
Even though Larry was arrested in early November, Leonard just learned about it, after she called detectives to inquire about the case.
Kennecke: So are you satisfied with just state charges?
Leonard: Absolutely not because he will only get distribution. He’ll get very little, if any time.
“I don’t want this guy on the street doing it to other people. I mean I would never wish this pain on anybody. It’s horrible. That’s all I really want is justice for Tanner and Josh. And know it won’t bring them back and it probably won’t make me feel any better, But I think he should pay the price,” Leonard said.
Many fentanyl death cases are moved up to federal court, where someone can be charged with distribution leading to death. When KELOLAND News inquired about whether or not this would happen in Larry’s case, we were told that federal prosecutors cannot comment.