Attorney of teen seeks to drop felony drug charge
15-year-old is accused of distributing U-47700
January 27, 2017
The attorney for a 15-year-old boy accused of distributing a synthetic opioid he allegedly ordered from China is seeking to dismiss one of his charges.
The teen, charged last fall in connection with the investigations into the overdose deaths of two 13-year-old Treasure Mountain Junior High School students, is facing a second-degree felony count of distributing a controlled or counterfeit substance and a Class A misdemeanor count of reckless endangerment.
In a court hearing Friday, defense attorney Tara Isaacson asked to dismiss the felony charge because of an issue regarding the statute the state is using to prosecute the teen.
The drug he is accused of ordering and distributing, the synthetic opioid U-47700 — commonly referred to as pink — is not a scheduled substance in Utah, so prosecutors have said they will attempt to show its illegality by proving that it's a controlled substance analog. By statute, a controlled substance analog has a similar chemical nature to a scheduled substance and causes the same effects.
Isaacson said she filed a motion for a bill of particulars Thursday, asking the prosecution to identify how it intends to use the statute. Prosecutors must file a response by Feb. 17.
A hearing was scheduled for March 10 to determine whether the felony charge will be dismissed.
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According to court documents, the teen allegedly ordered U-47700 online from China with a friend, then distributed it to two other teens. Police discovered the teen's alleged actions in the aftermath of the deaths of Ryan Ainsworth and Grant Seaver, 13-year-old best friends who were determined to have overdosed on U-47700 in September.
Court documents do not explicitly state whether Ainsworth and Seaver got the drug from the teen. However, Seaver's parents were in the courtroom for the hearing Friday and identified themselves before the judge.
It was revealed during the hearing that the teen, who participated along with Isaacson via speakerphone, is at a residential treatment facility out of the state. Isaacson said there are no current plans for him to return home, but she agreed to the prosecution's request that he be under parental supervision if he does.