SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - A Seminole County woman says her son got addicted to pain pills, which led to him using the drug that took his life. Now, the man accused of selling the drugs is charged in his death.
The suspected drug dealer went before a judge on first-degree murder charges.
Seminole County is leading the way when it comes to cracking down on drug dealers whose heroin and fentanyl cause deadly overdoses.
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Now, the mother of a man who was allegedly killed said she had no idea her son had a problem until it was too late.
And that's the problem in many of these cases. People end up addicted to pain pills from an injury or an accident, which is what happened in the case of Jon Wiggins.
The person who allegedly sold him the fentanyl that killed him is behind bars, accused of murder.
“My son was a good guy. He was adventurous. He loved the outdoors," said Della Wiggins. “He loved a lot of things about life but somehow the pain got ahead of him."
She said she noticed a change in her son five months before he overdosed on fentanyl in January 2018.
The former Marine and National Guardsman would get violently ill. She tried to ask him about his issues, but he wouldn't open up.
On Wednesday, one question was solved. Austin Smiley, the man who investigators said sold Jon Wiggins the fentanyl that killed him was held without bond on a first-degree murder charge.
Smiley once worked for Jon Wiggins at his business.
"He sent a text message to him wanting to know what he thought of the dog food, which is a common reference to the heroin being used and was there,” said Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma. “Jon never responded to that page or that text."
Smiley is the 11th person to be charged with murder caused by an overdose in Seminole County since 2016.
Besides punishing drug dealers, the sheriff announced that a new collaborative effort called the Seminole Collaborative Opioid Response Effort or SCORE, will respond to overdoses, whether someone lives or dies.
"The folks going out there are not looking to take people to jail or investigate crimes," Lemma said. “They are out there to save lives and make sure there are services available.”
The sheriff said another person overdosed in the apartment with Jon Wiggins that night. That person was saved thanks to naloxone, which every deputy carries.
In 2018, Seminole County saw more than 400 overdoses.
Last year, 83 people died of an opioid-related overdose, which is up one from 2017.
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