TAMPA — Detectives used a dead woman’s cell phone to draw out and arrest two people accused of selling the drugs blamed in her death and the death of her boyfriend.
Jose Alberto Marti, 50, and Melissa Christine Hanna, 42, both of Tampa, were arrested Monday on two counts of first degree murder.
On Aug. 1, Hillsborough County sheriff’s detectives were called to an apartment on Windwood Oaks Drive in north Tampa about the suspected overdose deaths of a woman in her 40s and a man in his 30s. The cause of death later was determined to be fentanyl intoxication, in combination with fentanyl/ethanol intoxication for the man.
Detectives linked the drugs the victims had taken to Marti, the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Tuesday. They contacted Marti through the woman’s cellphone about buying more fentanyl and he responded to conduct a transaction, the Sheriff’s Office said. So did 42-year-old Melissa Christine Hanna.
When they met, undercover detectives found drugs in their vehicle, the Sheriff’s Office said — fentanyl, the highly addictive synthetic opioid, and crystal meth, a smokable form of the stimulant methamphetamine.
The two admitted to selling drugs to the victims, the Sheriff’s Office said. The office did not identify the victims.
Detectives obtained a search warrant during their investigation for a storage unit at 1717 E. Busch Blvd., location of the Busch Industrial Park and Self Storage. They told a judge they expected to find items including crystal meth, fentanyl, illegal drug paraphernalia, records, and electronic devices and firearms used to safeguard a supply of drugs.
Records show Marti and Hanna have been in the Hillsborough County jail since Aug. 11, when they were arrested on charges including trafficking in methamphetamine and possession of fentanyl with the intent to sell. Both were arrested at 241 Windward Oaks Dr.
They were being held without bail.
“The poison these individuals pedaled is what ultimately killed their two victims,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said in the news release. “Their arrests should serve as an eye-opening reminder to anyone who thinks it’s OK to sell drugs in our communities.”