Eastvale Man, 21, charged with murder in connection with overdose death

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RIVERSIDE (TBEN) – A 21-year-old man from Eastvale has been charged with second degree murder in connection with the overdose death of an 18-year-old teenager, the Riverside District Attorney’s Office said Monday.

Joseph Michael Costanza, 21, faces four felony charges over his alleged involvement in the overdose death of an 18-year-old. (Riverside County District Attorney’s Office)

Joseph Michael Costanza faces four felony charges: one count of murder; one count of sales of a controlled substance, fentanyl, to a minor with an increase in drug sales to a minor at least four years younger and an allegation of serious injury; and two counts of possession of a controlled substance, fentanyl, for sale.

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18-year-old Angel Vasquez was found unresponsive on October 4, 2020 at a house in Eastvale, prosecutors said. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead about an hour later. A 16-year-old was also found at home, also suffering from an overdose, but survived.

“He was a good kid, who had just finished school,” said Eduardo Vazquez, the victim’s father. “It has to stop, it just has to stop.”

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This is the first time in Riverside County that an accused drug dealer has been accused of supplying fentanyl to a person who then overdosed and died.

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“There is no safe way to use or sell fentanyl. Simply put, it’s deadly, ”said prosecutor Mike Hestrin. “Those who sell fentanyl should know this and, if they choose to sell it anyway and someone dies, the dealer should be charged with murder.”

Prosecutors allege Costanza was selling drugs containing fentanyl, known as M30 pills, although he was aware of the danger of fentanyl and the potential for overdose.

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Riverside County Sheriff’s Department deputies served a search warrant at Costanza’s home on February 11 and seized evidence related to the sale of illegal drugs as well as M30 pills found in his room, the office said. district attorney.

According to the Sheriff’s Department, a woman died of an overdose at Costanza’s home in Eastvale in July 2020 and there have been several other non-fatal overdose incidents at the home.

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Costanza faces up to 17 years in prison for drug-related charges and 15 years in life for second degree murder, according to the district attorney’s office.

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