PARK CITY — One of the teenagers who prosecutors say played a role in the overdose deaths of two Park City boys two years ago was having ecstasy and another drug delivered from overseas as recently as a few weeks ago, according to court documents.
Two weeks ago, a community alert was sent out to Park City parents advising them that charges were being recommended against multiple teens in connection with controlled and synthetic controlled substances being shipped to them using the darknet.
One of the juveniles being investigated was also involved in the September 2016 deaths of Grant Seaver and Ryan Ainsworth, both 13, according to Summit County prosecutors. The boys died just two days apart after overdosing on a deadly synthetic opioid being manufactured in China called U-47700, also known by its street name of "pink."
The teen involved in the new investigation who was also involved in the last case is a 17-year-old girl, according to charges filed July 20 in 3rd District Juvenile Court. The Park City High School student, whom the Deseret News has opted not to name at this time, is charged with four counts of drug distribution, a second-degree felony.
Three of those counts are for incidents this year and the fourth for her actions in 2016, according to court documents.
On June 27, the Department of Homeland Security's Utah office was notified that U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents had intercepted a package shipped from overseas with 3 grams of ecstasy to the 17-year-old girl at an address in Park City, according to charges as well as a search warrant affidavit.
"Further records checks through the homeland security database revealed that an additional package containing 11 grams of ecstasy was intercepted" on June 18 at the Chicago International Airport, the affidavit states.
On July 11, the U.S. Postal Service also intercepted a package addressed to the girl "and discovered an off-white powdery substance. The white powdery substance was tested and it tested positive for phenethylamine. Phenethylamine is described as a Schedule 1 synthetic hallucinogen," the warrant states.
Police went to the house where the package was to be delivered and talked to a man who lived there.
"He told officers that (the girl) had asked him if she could have some e-cigarette refills sent to his address and he agreed. A meeting was set up between (the two) in order to deliver the packages. At that time, (she) was arrested," the charges state.
After her arrest, the girl told investigators that "she was asked by friends to order these items on the 'dark web.' She claimed that she used Bitcoin to order the drugs," according to charging documents.
The teen then said that "she had learned how to purchase the substances through the dark web from friends who had purchased U-44770 and had it delivered to her house in 2016," the charges say.
In 2016, two juvenile boys asked the girl if they could have synthetic drugs shipped to her house so their parents wouldn't discover them.
"The packages contained a white powder substance. She admitted that the first shipment she received contained 'pink,' or U-44770," the charges state. "Two Summit County juveniles died as a result of the U-44770 she received in September 2016. She is now ordering and receiving additional packages of drugs that have been ordered through the use of the dark web. Given that the juvenile is continuing to order controlled substances to be delivered into the community, she presents an unreasonable risk to public safety."
The case against the 17-year-old comes just months after she delivered a TEDx youth talk in Park City about what a drug addict looks like. The girl, who is a Park City High School honor roll student, multisport athlete, and has interests in astronomy and physics, said there is no stereotype for a drug addict. They can be brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, friends, families, teammates and peers.
Wrongful death suit
The new investigation comes on the heels of a wrongful death lawsuit filed in March by the parents of Grant Seaver against the parents of four juveniles allegedly involved in their son's death, including the 17-year-old girl and the parents of Ryan Ainsworth. The Seavers claim their son's death was caused by negligence, negligent supervision, and "abnormally dangerous activity" on the part of the other parents.
All of the juveniles were friends in 10th grade at Park City High School at the time of the two boys' deaths, the lawsuit states. At least two of the boys were purchasing pink from China off the darknet, according to court documents.
"Both knew that it was extremely dangerous. The kids of all defendant parents understood that the reason U-47700 was also known as 'pink' or 'pinky' was because ingesting more than a pinky nail of U-47700 could kill a person," the lawsuit states.
The suit alleges that Ryan's parents "knew or should have known" that both Ryan and his brother were using U-47700, "and that (Ryan) was using enough U-47700 that he was addicted to it," but that they "failed to notify anyone of his addiction, including law enforcement or parents."
"A GoPro video obtained by police after (Grant's) death discloses a conversation between (Grant and Ryan) where they discuss the fact that the defendant parents discovered a $2,000 shipment of drugs from China and threw the drugs into the garbage," according to the lawsuit.
The suit also contends that in early September 2016, more than a week before Grant's death, the teen girl's parents "discovered a box in (her) closet in which Chinese drugs purchased by (the three other teens) were shipped to (the girl)."
"Defendants owed plaintiffs and the local community a duty of care in communicating their knowledge of their children’s dealings with lethal drugs to all interested persons, including plaintiffs, law enforcement, and other community leaders and officials, so that protective measures could be taken to prevent an overdose," the lawsuit states in its claim for negligence. "Defendants’ conduct, as described above, was extreme and outrageous. Defendants manifested a knowing and reckless indifference toward, and disregard of, the rights of the plaintiffs."
The Seavers are seeking "special damages greater than $300,000."
The 17-year-old girl talks about her own alleged addiction in the TEDx video published Feb. 1 and viewed more than 3,300 times, and how even though she knew she should stop, she couldn't.
"Even after I would get caught, it would happen over and over again. At first, it was just fun. It was something to do with my friends. It wasn’t until I lost everything that was important to me that I realized that it wasn’t fun. At least not anymore. But I still found myself going out of my way trying to find anything I could get my hands on and get high alone. Even after I would get caught, the cycle would repeat over and over again,” she said.12 comments on this story
"I’ve lost friends, freedoms and I’ve hurt my family. And my family will tell me that it needs to stop, that it needs to be over now. And they’ll ask me to promise this to them. But I don’t want to make a promise that I don’t think I can keep, that I don’t know I can keep. Because most days I do want to quit, I do want to stop. But then there are other days I’ll end up finding myself in a binge again,” she said.
After she runs out of drugs or is caught, the girl said she will usually stay sober for several months. But then she will relapse.
"It’s extremely frustrating knowing that I’m hurting the ones that I care about, but feeling incapable of stopping. It’s a constant battle in my head between what I know is good for me and what isn’t,” she said.