Teen involved in procuring drugs that killed Park City teens pleads guilty to reduced charges
The 17-year-old teen girl charged with helping procure drugs that led to the overdoses of two 13-year-old boys in Park City in 2016, then later ordering more illegal drugs online, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors Friday morning.
The teen admitted in 3rd District Juvenile Court to attempting to distribute a controlled substance and reckless endangerment, both class A misdemeanors. She was initially charged with four second-degree felony counts last summer. Judge Elizabeth Knight sentenced the teen to six months probation, including 36 hours of community service and random drug testing. The teen will also have to continue with the recommended treatment for her substance abuse problems.
Knight said she would review the probation in July. If the teen completes the terms, Knight said she would consider terminating it.
The Park Record is not naming the teen because she is a minor.
According to charging documents, the teen ordered ecstasy and a drug called 2C-B using the dark web on three separate occasions last June and July. She was charged with four second-degree felony counts of distributing a controlled substance. One of the counts stemmed from an incident in 2016, during which prosecutors say she was involved with procuring the illegal substance U-44770, a synthetic opioid commonly called pink, which led to the fatalities of the two teen boys.
On Friday morning, the teen admitted to attempting to receive a package that contained MDMA, or ecstasy, in June of 2018. The packages she ordered were intercepted by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson issued a community alert warning parents that one of the teens involved with obtaining the U-44770 in 2016 had ordered more illegal drugs. Parents were told to look out for suspicious packages.
The teen also admitted on Friday to engaging in reckless behavior that “created a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to another person” in the summer of 2016. According to charging documents, she agreed to have two other individuals ship the drug U-44770 to her home in 2016.
Two 13-year-old boys, Ryan Ainsworth and Grant Seaver, overdosed on U-44770 two days apart in September of 2016. The tragedy spurred community action to confront the youth drug problem in Park City.
The teen’s lawyer, Mary Corporon, previously filed a motion to suppress evidence from the case and asked for a trial. Over the last few months, Knight heard testimonies from officers involved in the teen’s arrest. Corporon called into question the officers’ reaction to the teen’s distressed emotional state at the time of the arrest.
After pleading guilty, Knight told the teen that she needs to learn to make her own decisions and not be so easily manipulated. She said the teen was always pressured by males to do things the teen knew were bad decisions.
“In wanting to please them and give them what they are asking you to do, you’ve made really bad choices,” she said. “That’s a really hard thing to learn of how to be independent and strong.”
The teen has been in a treatment facility since the late summer.
The teen’s parents were present at the hearing, as was James Seaver, the father of Grant Seaver.
Corporon and the teen’s family declined to comment.
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The South Summit Board of Education voted 4-1 to put a bond measure on November’s ballot asking for $87 million to build a new high school.