3 indicted in teen’s overdose death

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Two people from Boardman and man from Warren are all due in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Tuesday morning for their alleged roles in the death last summer of a Boardman High School graduate.

Erin Trell, 18, died in September after what authorities said was a night of drug use with a friend.

Last week, a grand jury secretly indicted Gary Hartman and Marijo Mazon of Boardman and Ruben Best of Warren. All three are charged with trafficking in drugs, and Mazon also faces a charge of corrupting another with drugs. Hartman and Best also are charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless homicide, according to Assistant Mahoning County Prosecutor Martin Desmond.

They allegedly provided the drugs to Trell and a friend.

Prosecutors said the suspects all supplied different types of drugs to the victim in the hours before she died. They said the victim, who was to start her freshman year at Youngstown State University last fall, had at least a half dozen different drugs in her system at the time of her death, including Xanax, cocaine, marijuana and a synthetic opiate known as opana, which is similar to heroin.

They said Trell was less than 5 feet tall and weighed less than 100 pounds. The Mahoning County Coroner’s Office said all of the drugs, including the marijuana, contributed to Trell’s death.

Although Trell’s death is listed officially as an accident, prosecutors said they’re doing what they can to address the Valley’s growing drug problems.

“Drug overdoses now have, for the past couple of years, have overtaken car accidents as the leading cause of accidental deaths and so it’s a very serious problem. It’s a very real problem and we’re doing what we can to address it. Whether that’s arresting people for dealing the drugs or charging them, like in this case, when the drugs they deal cause a death, whatever avenues we can take, we are going to take them,” Desmond said.

But Desmond admits law enforcement alone can’t do the job, and that is why local law enforcement is supporting initiatives such as Gov. John Kasich’s “Start Talking” program, which was unveiled in Youngstown earlier this month. 

“We need to start some type of education programs, even as early as grade school, about the dangers of drugs,” Desmond said.

Hartman, Mazon and Best were arrested Friday and spent the weekend in the county jail.

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