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DEA: Friend liable for meth overdose death of Salt Lake City man

Posted at 7:48 AM, Sep 24, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — After a Salt Lake area man died using meth he bought from a friend, federal prosecutors and DEA agents are issuing a warning: if you sell narcotics that lead to an overdose death, you’re looking at hard time.

Both men were in various stages of drug recovery but neither, apparently, could resist the lure of methamphetamine.

It happened during Christmas week, 2018 when the victim, who had been clean for many months, started messaging his friend, Jason Estes, asking if he could hook him up with some meth.

Estes, who lives in Davis County agreed to purchase the drugs and drove down to Sandy, where he resold them to the victim in the parking lot of a convenience store.

The victim went home, took some meth and died a short time later. He was found by his wife.

Detectives then retrieved the entire text message chain, arrested Mr. Estes and eventually took the case to federal court where Estes was convicted and sentenced to prison.

Agents said this is a warning for users and sellers of illegal narcotics.

“And we need to send a message to those folks out there that are distributing drugs to the communities that this is a serious crime," said Michael Tinkler of the DEA in Utah. “You need to think twice before you take something from a buddy, from a friend of yours and the potential fall out. Of course in this one the real tragedy is leaving a child, leaving a family, leaving a spouse behind. That’s probably one of the greatest tragedies of this case.”

The DEA, along with Federal prosecutors, also want to get the word out to local police agencies: if you have a fatal overdose and think you can tie it back to the dealer, bring it to them.

If this case had been prosecuted at the state level, the most serious charge possible likely would’ve been negligent homicide or manslaughter and questionable prison time.

Jason Estes was sentenced to 26 months in federal prison. He will begin serving his time in November.