Phoenixville man headed to trial in drug overdose case

Malik Grasty
Malik Grasty Photo Courtesy of Phoenixville Police

PHOENXIVILLE >> A 25-year-old Phoenixville man is headed to trial on a long list of charges stemming from a drug overdose death with which he has been connected by police.

A toxicology report completed on July 17 on the deceased 34-year-old Phoenixville man showed he died of acute carfentanil toxicity, according to the Chester County Coroner’s Office.

The death was the first in Chester County connected with the elephant tranquilizer carfentanil.

According to a post on the Phoenixville Police Facebook page, Malik Grasty is headed to court as a result of drugs he allegedly provided causing the overdose death.

Advertisement

The investigation began on July 4, when police were called to a residence in the 300 block of Second Avenue for a heroin overdose.

Police determined the incident to be a drug overdose after finding heroin and paraphernalia in plain view near the man’s body.

Police said they found several empty heroin bags stamped with different phrases including “Chapo,” “Wells Fargo” and “New Arrival” at the scene where the deceased was discovered. In addition to a hypodermic needle, authorities also located four bags still containing heroin and stamped with ”New Arrival.”

On July 5, an undercover officer arranged a drug transaction with “Kevin D” using the deceased’s phone. Police arranged for “Kevin D” to deliver 12 bags of heroin in the area of St. Mary’s Street and South Street, police said. Police requested that “Kevin D” deliver the drugs to their vehicle and he was taken into custody by officers once he arrived.

“Kevin D,” later identified as Damon Eskridge, had been in possession of 12 bags of heroin stamped with the words, “New Arrival,” according to court records.

Eskridge waived his preliminary hearing in September, after being arrested as the result of an undercover police operation.

The latest court appearance indicates police believe Grasty to be Eskridge’s co-conspirator.

“The investigation revealed that the victim died because the heroin he purchased from Grasty’s co-conspirator, Damon Eskridge was laced with the potent synthetic opioid carfentanil,” police wrote.

Grasty was arrested on Aug. 22 after search warrants were served at multiple locations in Phoenixville by Phoenixville detectives and Chester County Drug Task Force officers.

Investigators determined that Grasty supplied Eskridge with the tainted heroin that was delivered to the victim. Investigators also recovered a 9 mm handgun with an obliterated serial number and were able to link the gun to Grasty, according to police.

Following a preliminary hearing at Wednesday, Grasty is headed to trial in Chester County Common Pleas Court in West Chester on charges of drug delivery resulting in death, dealing in unlawful proceeds, criminal conspiracy, felon not to possess a firearm, possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number, possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, and numerous other underlying drug charges.