When two Michigan veterans bought heroin in March of 2017, they expected to get high from after shooting it into their veins.
However (though not all that unexpected), one of them ended up losing his life inside of his friend’s Kalamazoo apartment, the result of the heroin being impure.
“He said that was too much,” Army veteran Robert Larsen said of Brandon Demko, a 33-year-old Marine veteran he had known for some time.
A “user” for over a decade, Larsen had seen his share of drug-related “quirks.” However, he too blacked out from the bad drugs, sold to him by local ‘smack’ dealer Deondray Abrams.
Regaining consciousness, Larsen awoke to find his buddy blue and unresponsive. Shooting Naxalone (an overdose countermeasure) into Demko’s nostril, he was soon forced to dial 911 after his efforts to revive his friend called.
Needless to say, EMS couldn’t revive him either.
In November of the same year, Larsen testified against Abrams, accusing him of selling them bad heroin- specifically, heroin laced with fentanyl.
Born in 1984 and a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, Demko joined the US Marines in 2005, staying in the Corps until he left as an E-3 in 2009.
“He was a one of a kind individual,” said Nick Demko, a fellow Marine whom he deployed with, who just so happened to share a surname. “He really had a way of making your day a whole lot better. He loved his family his country his friends and loved staying physically fit.”
At some point, however, Demko’s fitness took a downward spiral. In 2017, Demko met Larsen in an intensive outpatient program.
Bonding over military service, they soon bonded over their love of a high.
“There were periods when we used together,” Larsen testified.
Demko had reached out to Abrams and drove an hour to secure the heroin, which would ultimately kill him.
Following Demko’s autopsy, Police would utilize information taken from the late Demko’s phone to track down Abrams, eventually setting up a sting to incriminate and arrest him.
“During controlled buys, he made statements as to the intensity of the heroin he was selling; it was heavy, to go light on it, giving me the indication that he knew the heroin he was selling had the potential to cause lethal death to the user,” Kalamazoo Valley Enforcement Team Detective John Killah testified.
According to MLive, the drugs captured during the stings tested hot for Fentanyl.
If convicted, Abrams could face life in prison.
For Demko’s family, however, the pain still remains.
“I am still waiting to wake up from this nasty nightmare,” Demko’s sister, Tiffany Troutt wrote on the guestbook for his obituary. “My little Troutts got robbed of their uncle and the fun times that they would of had with you.”
I will make sure they always know you and what you were about”, she added. “Being true to themselves and what they believe in and a little crazy thrown into the mix as well.”
Fentanyl has become an increasingly deadly additive in illicit drugs, causing deaths across the nation and capable of causing severe effects by merely being exposed to the substance.