Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele, Upper Providence Township Police Chief Mark Freeman, and Pottstown Police Chief Mick Markovich announced on September 12th the arrests of Jonathan Heffren, 27, of Reading; Michael Lavelle, 23, of Plymouth Meeting; and Marrissa Roman, 29, of Douglassville, for Drug Delivery Resulting in Death, Possession With Intent to Deliver and related charges stemming from the May 2022 overdose death of 41-year-old Jessica Martin at a home in Upper Providence Township.
According to the written announcement, Upper Providence Township Police were dispatched to a home along Providence Forge Road on Monday, May 16th at approximately 8:30 a.m. for a reported cardiac arrest. Police arrived and were able to resuscitate Martin. She would pass away three days later at Phoenixville Hospital. An autopsy by the Chester County Coroner’s Office determined that Martin died of complications of fentanyl and xylazine intoxication. At the overdose scene, police found nine blue wax baggies stamped “ADIDAS” that contained a purple substance suspected of being heroin/fentanyl as well as a needle and other evidence of drug use.
Upper Providence Township Police, Pottstown Police, and Montgomery County Detectives launched a joint investigation into Martin’s overdose death. Investigators were able to review Martin’s text messages and determined that she has visited a hotel in Pottstown to purchase drugs from Heffren. Video from security cameras at the hotel matched information from the text messages.
The investigation found that Heffren obtained the purple-dyed heroin/fentanyl stamped “ADIDAS” from his suppliers Lavelle and Roman, both of whom were the registered occupants of the hotel room where Martin visited to buy drugs from Heffren. On May 20, 2022, a search warrant was served on America’s Best Hotel Room 228, and 424 bags of suspected fentanyl stamped “ADIDAS” were seized. All three defendants were present in the room and were arrested by law enforcement on Possession with Intent to Deliver (PWID) charges.
Laboratory testing on the “ADIDAS” baggies located at the scene of Martin’s overdose found that they contained fentanyl, fentanyl derivatives, and xylazine, a non-opioid tranquilizer used by veterinarians to sedate horses, cattle, and other large animals. Chemical testing on the 424 “ADIDAS” baggies seized in the hotel room found that they contained a similar drug mixture as the bags found at the death scene.
“These defendants sold a very potent and deadly mix of fentanyl and xylazine to Ms. Martin, causing her death. Drug users should know that xylazine is even more potent than fentanyl,” said District Attorney Steele. “With this arrest, a significant supply of illegal drugs in Montgomery County has been stopped. Law enforcement is continuing to hold drug dealers accountable for selling the deadly drugs that kill our residents.”
The new charges of Drug Delivery Resulting in Death, PWID, Criminal Use of a Communications Facility, and related were filed against the defendants, and they were arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Andrea Duffy on Sept. 9, 2022. Judge Duffy set bail at $250,000 cash for each defendant. As part of the Montgomery County PreTrial Services Program, a bail review hearing was held before Court of Common Pleas Judge Henry S. Hilles III, who reduced bail for Roman and Lavelle to a total of $99,000 cash each. Heffren’s bail was unchanged. All three defendants remain in Montgomery County Correctional Facility. A preliminary hearing is set for 9:30 a.m., Sept. 23, 2022, before Magisterial District Judge Richard H. Walsh.