Winter Haven drug dealer charged with murder for selling lethal dose of fentanyl-laced heroin

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WFLA) -- A drug dealer in Winter Haven has been charged with murder after deputies say she sold a lethal dose of fentanyl-laced heroin that killed a woman.

A grand jury charged 49-year-old Melita Mendez with first-degree murder on Tuesday in connection with the death of 31-year-old Kalia Joslin of Winter Haven.

Joslin, the mother of a 12-year-old boy, was found dead on Oct. 29, 2017. Deputies say they found suspected heroin/fentanyl baggies and syringes in her bedroom.

On Oct. 31, deputies searched Joslin's cell phone and found several text messages from the day before her death that showed her trying to contact someone named "Tuti" to purchase $95 worth of heroin. Detectives say Joslin and a witness then drove to "Tuti's" home and purchased six baggies of heroin.

Detectives also identified "Tuti" as Mendez on Oct. 31. An undercover detective then contacted her and purchased $100 worth of heroin.

A few days later, the undercover detective purchased another $95 worth of heroin from Mendez and searched her home. She was arrested for having 18 grams of heroin, and admitted to deputies that she sold a potentially fatal dose of heroin to Joslin on Oct. 28.

On Feb. 22, a medical examiner ruled Joslin's official cause of death as "heroin and fentanyl intoxication."

"This is how dangerous it is to become addicted to heroin, or any drug for that matter. Drug dealers are only concerned about making money, they don't care about how this drug can ruin someone's life," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said. "Thankfully, the legislation passed the new law encompassing the sale of heroin laced with fentanyl into the first-degree murder statute. Now, Mendez can be rightfully held accountable for her actions."

Deputies say Mendez was previously arrested on several drug charges back in November, including trafficking heroin and selling heroin. She bonded out on her charges last month, but was taken into custody Tuesday night at her home in Winter Haven.

Her husband, 56-year-old Idlefonso Mendez Rios, was also arrested Tuesday night after deputies found him hiding in a bedroom closet. He is facing several charges including possession of methadone, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of prescription medication without a prescription.

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