Charges: Brother controlled Boogaard's drugs

Aaron Boogaard is accused of flushing pills before NHL player's body was found.

The brother of Derek Boogaard had control of the addictive painkillers that the onetime Minnesota Wild tough guy was taking until his overdose death, according to charges filed Friday, and destroyed the remaining pill supply before authorities found the body.

Aaron Boogaard, 24, was charged with third-degree sale of a controlled substance, a felony, and interference with a death, a gross misdemeanor.

Boogaard posted bond Friday afternoon and was transferred to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which had a hold on the Regina, Saskatchewan, resident for suspected immigration violations. He was ordered to appear before a federal immigration judge at a later date and then released to his family. He is also scheduled to appear Monday in Hennepin County District Court to face his criminal charges.

"We are pleased that Aaron Boogaard is with his family," read a statement issued Friday evening by Boogaard's attorneys, John Lundquist and Lindsay Sokolowski. "We will address the allegations in court rather than in the media, but note that Aaron was and remains devastated by his brother's death. The entire Boogaard family has suffered tremendous loss and we ask that you respect their privacy as they continue to mourn the death of Derek."

Aaron Boogaard was arrested Wednesday in Minneapolis in connection with his 28-year-old brother's death on May 13 in the Warehouse District apartment that the brothers shared.

Aaron routinely supplied his brother with drugs, and "it is our understanding that Aaron kept his brother's non-prescribed, illegal drugs and attempted to parcel them out on some kind of limited basis," said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.

"It's a tragic situation," Freeman added. "The family has already suffered significant loss. That doesn't diminish the fact that it's wrong -- and in this case it was tragic -- for him to give him that drug."

A toxicologist found traces of Percocet, OxyContin and oxycodone along with alcohol in Derek Boogaard's body, making it difficult to say which substance killed him. That's the only reason, Freeman said, that Aaron Boogaard wasn't charged with murder or manslaughter.

According to the complaint, police were called the night of May 13 to the apartment, where Aaron Boogaard told officers that he had given Derek the powerful painkiller oxycodone before the NHLer went out to nightclubs with friends the previous night. Aaron said his brother intended to go on a "binger" and celebrate one day after being released from a chemical-dependency treatment center.

Aaron Boogaard also told the officers that he had been holding for his brother the narcotics OxyContin and Percocet, neither of which came from a doctor.

The younger brother said that he went the next day to pick up another brother, Ryan, at the airport. Aaron Boogaard returned to the apartment and found his brother unresponsive. A 911 call was made. But before emergency personnel arrived, Aaron Boogaard said, he flushed the remaining pills that he had been holding for Derek Boogaard down the toilet.

After Aaron Boogaard's arrest but before the charges were made public, the family issued a statement, saying in part: "One thing is certain, the charges brought against Aaron have nothing to do" with Derek Boogaard's death.

The brothers' father, Len, explained later Thursday that Aaron was attempting to control what Derek was taking.

A week after Derek Boogaard's death, his family acknowledged that he had struggled with addiction. The revelation came hours after the Hennepin County medical examiner reported that Derek Boogaard died of an accidental mix of alcohol and oxycodone.

Prior to his death, Derek Boogaard said he and Aaron planned to spend the summer in Minneapolis working out in preparation for the upcoming hockey season. Aaron Boogaard, a 2004 Wild draft choice who has played minor-league hockey the past four seasons, remained in Minnesota after his brother's death and had been working out at the Minnesota Top Team gym in Eagan.

The death of Boogaard, a 6-foot-7, 240-pound enforcer who rarely scored goals over his six-year career, was devastating to many Wild fans and others around the NHL. At last month's NHL draft at the Xcel Energy Center, the Rangers held a brief tribute to Derek Boogaard and allowed Aaron Boogaard to announce the team's first-round selection. Before Aaron could reveal the selection, he was drowned out by a standing ovation from the crowd.

Star Tribune staff writer Michael Russo contributed to this report.

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