Violet man booked with obstruction of justice after death of another man he reported may have overdosed in his home; Death is unclassified

Posted: July 20th, 2013 | Filed under: News Releases

overdosearrest01In an unusual case, a Violet man was booked with obstruction of justice after the death of another Violet man he reported was possibly overdosing on drugs and who was pronounced dead in the arrested subject’s home, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
The death of Rodney Sanchez, 57, 2201 Colonial Blvd., on Wednesday, July 17, is unclassified pending toxicology tests, the sheriff said.

Lance Espadron, 35, 2725 Guerra Drive, was booked by sheriff’s detectives the same day for the obstruction of justice count after Sanchez was pronounced dead. He said he found Sanchez down the block from his residence – possibly overdosing on drugs – and brought him back to the Guerra Drive home, Sheriff Pohlmann said.

The sheriff said Espadron was arrested because he destroyed evidence in the case and may face more serious charges, possibly including negligent homicide, depending on the outcome of toxicology tests.

Espadron is being held in St. Bernard Parish Prison in lieu of bond set at $10,000.

The suspect acknowledged he flushed a syringe down a toilet in his home after calling the Sheriff’s Office and before deputies arrived, Sheriff Pohlmann said, saying it was Sanchez’ and he didn’t want to be caught with it.

He also said he found the syringe in Sanchez’s pants after Sanchez collapsed in his residence and used it to give the dying man a shot of salt water in an attempt to save his life. Espadron said he had seen the salt water technique work before, He also claimed he gave Sanchez CPR before calling authorities to report Sanchez was possibly overdosing.

Sheriff Pohlmann said he should have called 911 as soon as Sanchez collapsed. Several people have been booked with negligent homicide in recent years for failing to call the Sheriff’s Office when they could have when they knew someone was overdosing.

Sanchez and Espadron are believed to have known each other and investigating sheriff’s detectives suspect the two had done drugs together that day, rather than Espadron finding him on a street.

Sanchez was unconscious on the floor in Espadron’s residence in mid-afternoon, not breathing, when deputies arrived. Emergency medical technicians worked on Sanchez but he was pronounced dead at 3:42 p.m.

Espadron, in his statement to the Sheriff’s Office, admitted he went into New Orleans earlier the day of July 17 to purchase a small amount of heroin, used it in the city, then got rid of the needle before returning to St. Bernard Parish, the sheriff said.

His statement was he was driving on his street, only blocks from home, Espadron said, when he saw Sanchez stumbling on the street, then stopped and brought him to the Guerra Drive home.