Mother speaks out about overdose; Woman hopes son’s death can bring community awareness, change

Published 10:37 am Friday, August 28, 2015

By Sam Wilmes

ALBERT LEA — The mother of an 18-year-old Albert Lea man who died from a methadone overdose in February wants the incident to bring awareness to illegal drug use and distribution.



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She said while 26-year-old Dustin Chenevert of Albert Lea, who was charged Wednesday with third-degree murder in the death of her son, Colton Poplow, needs to deal with the consequences of his actions, the situation can serve as an important lesson to the community.

“If Dustin being charged prevents another family from this pain, another life saved, controlled substances from being sold, then Colton’s life has even greater meaning than all he gave to all of us,” said Darlene Federly, Poplow’s mother, in a statement to the Tribune. “We need to remember the love, happiness, smiles, laughter, friendship and wisdom Colton brought to so many lives.”

Federly said more needs to be done to bring change in drug rehabilitation and in how drugs are being distributed and made available without monitoring to recovering drug addicts.

Poplow died in a South St. Paul hotel room from an overdose on Feb. 28. Dakota County District Court documents stated he was in the city to observe a sporting event, likely the state wrestling tournament. He was an Albert Lea student at the time of his death and played football, golf and wrestling.

According to court documents, police and medics responded to Poplow’s hotel room at 9:56 a.m. Feb. 28 on a report that he was not breathing. Shortly after arriving, medics determined Poplow had died. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner subsequently determined his death was from acute methadone toxicity.

Police discovered Poplow and a friend had taken methadone pills the previous evening.

Poplow’s friend told investigators that Poplow had purchased five Dilaudid pills and at least six methadone pills from someone known as “Dusto Busto” on Feb. 24 prior to leaving Albert Lea for the Twin Cities. He said Poplow had taken at least one methadone pill the mornings of Feb. 26 and 27.

The friend said at about 10 p.m. Feb. 27 he and Poplow heard a commotion outside of their hotel room. When they looked out into the hallway, they saw police officers dealing with a teenager and his parents in a neighboring room.

He said Poplow became concerned the police were doing room-to-room drug checks, so he swallowed the last two methadone pills he had. They then went to bed.

The friend said he was woken up in the early morning hours of Feb. 28 to Poplow making a gasping sound.

Poplow’s father told his son to blow his nose.

After Poplow blew his nose and returned to bed, Poplow’s father and friend later found blood and vomit on Poplow’s pillow and noticed he was not breathing, the court record states. They called 911.

The friend told investigators on his way home to Albert Lea on Feb. 28 that he had received Facebook messages from “Dusto Busto,” later identified as Chenevert, telling him that he had better not tell the police about him. Chenevert allegedly instructed him to delete that Facebook message, which the friend reportedly did, according to court records.

On March 4, investigators executed a search warrant on Chenevert’s residence. An investigator interviewed his mother, who reportedly said she was being prescribed Dilaudid and methadone.

Dilaudid is used to treat moderate to severe pain. Methadone is used to treat severe ongoing pain and can also be used to treat addiction to narcotic drugs.

Chenevert’s mother reportedly admitted that several months earlier she had discovered 150 of her methadone pills were missing, but she didn’t report it to police.

The investigators reportedly examined the bottle of methadone she had just refilled and discovered that 74 of her methadone pills were missing.

Chenevert said he and Poplow were acquaintances but denied ever giving or selling Poplow, or anyone else, any medications.

Investigators allegedly seized and searched phones belonging to several people involved in the investigation. In searching Chenevert’s phone, investigators reportedly observed Google searches on March 2 for “Can deleted Facebook messages be recovered with subpoena?” and “Can deleted Facebook chats be subpoenaed?” In total there were reportedly 43 different types of searches on the subject of deleted Facebook messages.

Chenevert has reportedly been in prison since June after multiple probation violations tied to a drunken-driving offense from 2012, according to online court records.

If convicted of the murder charge, he faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and a $40,000 fine.