A Rush City man is charged with third-degree murder for allegedly selling counterfeit prescription pills laced with fentanyl to a Ham Lake man who overdosed this spring.

Rey Anthony Tinoco, 31, admitted to Anoka County sheriff's deputies in October that he was dealing the pills that led to the 25-year-old's death May 17.

Anoka County issued a warrant for Tinoco on Dec. 8. Officials at the county jail and County Attorney's Office said he's not yet in custody.

According to court documents, on the night of May 17, a roommate found the victim unresponsive and called 911. Deputies noted foam around the victim's mouth and a nearby unlabeled pill bottle with counterfeit pills inside appearing to be oxycodone hydrochloride.

Midwest Regional Forensic Laboratory confirmed the pills contained fentanyl, and the Medical Examiner's Office concluded the victim's cause of death was fentanyl toxicity.

The victim's girlfriend told deputies she last saw him the previous morning and he mentioned he was using oxycodone and had set up a deal with a friend identified as Tinoco.

Texts sent between April 2019 and May 14, 2020, show the victim wiring money to Tinoco for narcotics.

Tinoco told authorities in a voluntary statement Oct. 12 that he had known the victim for over a year and regularly supplied him pills from his supplier in St. Paul. On May 15, he purchased 28 pills for $1,050 after the victim sent him the money via Facebook Messenger. He said that he and the victim knew the pills contained counterfeit oxycodone.

An investigation further revealed DNA on the pill bottle matched Tinoco, the victim and a third person.

Tinoco is charged with one felony count of third-degree murder, which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years and a $40,000 fine.

Kim Hyatt • 612-673-4751