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Port St. Lucie man charged with murder in victim's fentanyl-overdose death

Edwin Thompson faces first-degree murder charge after police said he sold fentanyl to 34-year-old fatal overdose victim
Posted at 7:48 PM, Oct 12, 2023

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — A Port St. Lucie man is charged with first-degree murder after police said he sold fentanyl to a man who later died of an overdose.

Edwin Thompson, 32, of Port St. Lucie was charged this week with first-degree murder.

Police Chief Richard Del Toro said in July 2022 that officers responded to a Winn Dixie grocery store located along Port St. Lucie Boulevard after receiving a call about a fatal overdose.

Del Toro said the victim, Michael McGaffin, 34, was found dead by his brother in his car and that he had overdosed on fentanyl.

Port St. Lucie Police Chief Richard Del Toro speaks at an Oct. 12, 2023, news conference to announce the arrest of Edwin Thompson.
Port St. Lucie Police Chief Richard Del Toro speaks at an Oct. 12, 2023, news conference to announce the arrest of Edwin Thompson.

Responding officers found a bag of white powder in McGaffin's car, which police said later tested positive for fentanyl.

The victim's brother testified that Thompson was his brother's known drug dealer, according to investigators. After obtaining a search warrant, officers said they found multiple drugs, including fentanyl, in Thompson's home.

Police also said they obtained text messages between McGaffin and Thompson that showed Thompson was going to sell the victim drugs, and that Cash App transactions showed the victim paid him $20.

Police said texts between the suspect and Michael McGaffin show their communication on the night of McGaffin's overdose death.
Police said texts between the suspect and Michael McGaffin show their communication on the night of McGaffin's overdose death.

Florida passed a law in 2017 that allows law enforcement to charge anyone who sells a fatal dose of fentanyl with first-degree murder. However, until now, Port St. Lucie police said they hadn't had a case of this kind.

"I think this is a nationwide epidemic where you're seeing over 100,000 overdose deaths related deaths to fentanyl in the last couple of years alone. We're averaging 60,000 deaths per year," Del Toro said. "Now that we have this charge, I'm hopeful that not only will the Port St. Lucie Police Department be able to bring this charge to a successful close, but other agencies will as well."

Del Toro said the city has had 35 overdose deaths in the past two years, 16 of which occurred in 2023 alone.

Thompson is now in jail and being held without bond.

This is an unprecedented case for the city, but Del Toro believes this won't be the last of its kind.