An Oak Ridge woman has been indicted on charges of aggravated assault and reckless endangerment in a drug overdose reported in February.
The drug that allegedly caused the overdose of Wesley “Bud” Arnold on West Outer Drive on February 16 had been said to be heroin, according to affidavits filed earlier this year in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Oak Ridge.
Arnold was unconscious on a hallway floor, had a very weak pulse, and could not breathe on his own when an emergency medical crew responded to the overdose at about 3 p.m. February 16. Emergency personnel were able to revive Arnold by giving him a dose of Narcan, which is used to help people who overdose on opioid-based narcotics.
But indictments filed against Heather Marie Rau, 29, on August 1, said the illegal narcotic was not heroin but actually acrylfentanyl, a fentanyl analogue that is more powerful and dangerous than heroin.
Rau had advised Arnold not to “shoot it,” or inject it, because she knew that what she had given him could possibly kill him, according to the affidavits filed in February. Rau and another man, Willie Williams, had ingested the same drug on February 12, and Rau overdosed while Williams died, said the affidavits, filed by Oak Ridge Police Department Detective John Criswell.
Rau provided the same drug, which had been identified as heroin, to Arnold, which caused his overdose, the affidavits said. Rau admitted to knowing that the drug could possibly kill Arnold, Criswell said. It’s not clear how Arnold ingested the drug.
The indictments filed August 1 charged Rau with reckless endangerment for putting Arnold in imminent danger of serious bodily injury through a deadly weapon (the acrylfentanyl) while misrepresenting the drug as heroin.
Besides reckless endangerment, Rau was also indicted on charges of aggravated assault in the overdose because of the illegal narcotic, possession of drug paraphernalia because of a small digital scale and syringes allegedly found by police, and possession of a controlled substance for sale (the acrylfentanyl).
In a separate indictment also from February 16 and also filed August 1, Rau was charged with promoting the manufacture of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Those indictments charged Rau with possessing syringes, methamphetamine, and chemicals and equipment that could be and would be used to make methamphetamine, including liquid fire drain cleaner, solid drain cleaner, empty Sudafed containers and packaging, a pot bottle, and “meth lab trash” like a used coffee filter.
Criswell and Officer Daniel Freytag are listed as witnesses in the two cases.
Rau has remained jailed at the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton since February 16. She was arraigned on the indictments in Anderson County Criminal Court in Clinton on August 28, and she pleaded not guilty. Her next court date is scheduled for October 30.
Charges initially filed against Rau in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Oak Ridge had included aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and possession of a controlled substance for sale. Those charges were waived to the grand jury on March 28.
In the February affidavits, Criswell said that Rau admitted, after being advised of her Miranda rights, that she had contacted Arnold and arranged to meet him at 622 West Outer Drive to exchange crystal methamphetamine and a cell phone for the heroin that she had.
“‘Bud’ asked to come over to the house after I told him I had some heroin for sale,” Rau said in a written statement, according to Criswell.
Rau explained that her deal with Arnold was to trade heroin for “ice” and a used phone that Arnold would bring back later, Criswell said.
After he overdosed and was treated with Narcan, Arnold was taken to an emergency room, where he was treated for the overdose and released, the affidavits said.
While officers waited for a search warrant, Rau asked to use the restroom, Criswell said. But police were afraid she might try to dispose of evidence. Asked if she possessed any illegal items, Rau admitted to having more narcotics in her pocket, Criswell said.
Among the items she removed, according to the affidavits, were a piece of plastic containing what Criswell recognized as marijuana, a small sealed baggie with a crystal substance of suspected methamphetamine inside, and three small silver-colored bundles with an unknown substance inside.
A small digital scale was found during a search of the residence, Criswell said.
Also in March, Rau pleaded guilty to a probation violation charge. She was ordered to serve five months in the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton, and she had to serve at least 75 percent of the underlying sentence. She was to receive credit for 40 days served, and she is not eligible for probation, according to Anderson County court records.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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