Saskatoon

'You should be charged with murder': Father of one overdose victim says son was poisoned

Three men previously accused of selling cocaine cut with fentanyl in Saskatoon faced charges of manslaughter for the first time in court on Friday.

Police have charged 3 men accused of selling tainted cocaine that killed 4 people with manslaughter

An April 2018 overdose was not fatal thanks to the use of Naloxone. (Charles Hamilton/CBC )

Three men previously accused of selling cocaine cut with fentanyl in Saskatoon were in court Friday to face new manslaughter charges for the first time.

The upgraded charges relate to overdoses that killed four people on the weekend of March 10, 2018.

Brian Washburn is pleased the charges were upgraded. His son is one of the four people who died.

"If you were in the bar and somebody put a drug in your whisky and it killed you, they wouldn't say you died of an overdose. They'd say somebody poisoned you. If you're getting something you didn't buy and it kills you, you should be charged with murder, manslaughter," he said in an interview Friday.

"I think it's good for society to finally punish these people, everybody knows that fentanyl kills people."

At the time, police launched a public warning campaign, saying there was a risk that cocaine from a dealer going by the name of "Lil Joe" or "Joe Bro" may be laced with fentanyl and could cause a lethal overdose. They also took the unusual step of listing a phone number associated with that person.

Shervin Beeharry, Japmanjot Grewal and Azim Kabani were already facing a range of drug possession and trafficking charges. On Thursday, police said those charges will be upgraded to manslaughter, criminal negligence causing death and criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

On Friday, they were separately escorted into the prisoner's box at Saskatoon Provincial Court. All were wearing grey prison sweat suits and had groomed facial hair.

They all appeared calm as their legal counsel walked through the next steps in their proceedings.

Beeharry and Grewal had previously been in custody on other matters and will remain there leading up to a Monday court appearance.

​Kobani will have a bail hearing on Wednesday. He had been out of custody after a recent bail hearing on separate matters.

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