MONROE COUNTY, Ind. — Felony charges are filed this week against an accused drug dealer in Bloomington following a deadly fentanyl-related overdose.
The criminal charges were filed two years and one week after a 24-year-old man died from an overdose at an apartment building on north Walnut.
In October 2020, Bloomington police found Andrew Estep dead from fentanyl poisoning. The discovery devastated his family.
“It’s been very difficult because at the end of the day nobody wanted to die from this. Nobody wanted this,” said the victim’s mother Diana Estep.
Diana said while her son struggled with addiction for years, fentanyl robbed him of his future.
“The hardest part is what could have been one day. We prayed for recovery and what his next chapter would be and fentanyl stole that,” said Diana.
While it took more than two years after Andrew died, the Estep family is relieved the Monroe County prosecutors charged Garrett Hacker with allegedly providing the lethal dose of fentanyl resulting in death.
The Estep family hopes the case serves as a warning to drug dealers everywhere.
“You know this is not about our children coming back. They’re gone. We’ll live the rest of without them, but if it can spare someone else the pain of losing a loved one then it’s not in vain,” said Diana.
“There are charges for that and that’s what’s happening here. We’re looking to hold drug dealers accountable because families are devastated when they lose a loved one. It’ll never be the same for them,” said assistant special agent in charge with the DEA Mike Gannon.
Mike Gannon said while only a tiny amount of fentanyl can prove deadly, holding drug dealers accountable for fatal overdoses can be difficult to prove.
“Well it’s challenging because you’re basically proving a homicide occurred related to drugs,” said Gannon.
In this case, court records claim investigators recovered numerous Facebook messages between Hacker and Estep arranging the drug deal.
Surveillance video also showed the suspect leaving the victim’s apartment before the death.
Estep’s family just hopes the story raises awareness about the dangers of fentanyl.
“We’ve really turned it into something positive and we try to help others,” said Andrew’s sister Bailey Estep.
“Fentanyl is a crisis. Please wake up America and realize what fentanyl is,” said Diana.
Court records show Hacker is currently serving prison time with the Department of Corrections after pleading guilty to drug charges out of Wayne County. The earliest he can be released in that case is 2029.