North Pole man faces murder charges in teen's overdose death - Alaska News - Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

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North Pole man faces murder charges in teen's overdose death

Updated

FAIRBANKS - A North Pole man who provided drugs to a Fairbanks teen who overdosed and died has been indicted on charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter.

Justin Mackenzie Powers, 19, who has been incarcerated at the Fairbanks Correctional Center for more than a month, was also indicted on two counts of second-degree drugs misconduct. He is being held without bail.

The second-degree murder charge is punishable by up to 99 years prison. Each of the other three charges carries a maximum penalty of 20 years behind bars.

Powers allegedly provided Alexandria S. Anderson, 18, with methadone and three transdermal fentanyl patches on Sept. 13. The teen used all three patches simultaneously and died of an overdose.

Fentanyl, a synthetic opiate that is reportedly 100 times more powerful than morphine, is usually only prescribed to patients who are terminally ill, said Avery Thompson, an investigator with the Alaska Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Enforcement.

When Powers was arrested the following day at the College Road Safeway, he told investigators he purchased 27 of the patches from another man with plans to sell them for $100-150 each.

Fentanyl patches are difficult to obtain and rarely seen in the Fairbanks area, Thompson said. Usually, they are stolen from relatives who have a prescription.

Powers has previous misdemeanor convictions for assault and theft, but no felony record.

It’s rare for suspected drug dealers to be charged for providing a lethal dose of drugs to buyers, but Alaska law specifically mentions such cases.

State statute gives one definition of manslaughter as when someone “knowingly manufactures or delivers a controlled substance... and a person dies as a direct result of ingestion of the controlled substance.”

The law also allows someone to be charged with second-degree murder if he or she “knowingly engages in conduct that results in the death of another person under circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to the value of human life."

Contact staff writer Chris Freiberg at 459-7545.

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