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Blue Lake overdose deaths caused by ‘mixed drug toxicity,’ coroner rules

An Eagle County deputy sheriff was stationed outside a home at 108 Ermine Ln. in Blue Lake subdivision Friday morning where two people were found dead.
The Aspen Times

The cause of death of two men who were found in a Blue Lake residence March 24 was “mixed drug toxicity” and the manner was accidental, Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis determined Thursday.

Bettis said toxicology tests found carfentanil, cocaine, benzodiazepine and “a little alcohol” in the bloodstreams of both victims, Michael Martinez, 26, and Camillo Sanchez, 30.

Police found pills at or near the scene in El Jebel, at least one of which contained heroin laced with carfentanil, a powerful elephant tranquilizer, according to a lab test by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. However, Bettis said there was no heroin in the systems of the two men.

She said it was impossible to say the carfentanil was solely responsible for the deaths, thus the finding of mixed drug toxicity.

However, carfentanil is known to be highly toxic. A slight whiff or even dust on fingers can immediately slow respiration and heart rate until it stops, Eagle County Sheriff James Van Beek said in a recent guest editorial in The Aspen Times. An amount smaller than a grain of salt can be fatal, according to Van Beek.

“It can kill a person within minutes,” he wrote.

Bettis said the immediacy of death for Martinez and Sanchez is unknown because it wasn’t witnessed.

A third man in the home was unresponsive but revived by Basalt paramedics who used multiple doses of Narcan, a medicine that blocks the effects of opioids and reverses an overdose temporarily.


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