Man facing drug charge connected to deadly overdose

2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago Friday, October 25 2019 Oct 25, 2019 Friday, October 25, 2019 1:47:00 PM CDT October 25, 2019 in News
By: Steve Lambson, KOMU 8 News Content Manager

COLUMBIA - A man arrested late Thursday by police is connected to a deadly drug overdose case in July, according to court documents made public Friday.

Steven Lamar Dennis, 39, faces one count for delivery of a controlled substance.

The probable statement in the case said police went to an apartment in Paquin Towers on July 12 for a possible overdose. There they found Mark Leary dead on the floor.

During the investigation, police said they found contact information for Dennis in Leary's phone, and that Dennis had been supplying Leary with "various controlled substances." Communications between the two made references, often in slang terms, to crack cocaine, powder cocaine, heroin and fentanyl.

Police got a warrant to search Dennis' phone and found nearly 600 calls and texts between him and Leary from June and July. 

Officials with the Drug Enforcement Agency said Dennis frequently used a vehicle owned by a Columbia man, Akiko White, and frequently went by the name "Puller." Columbia police said Dennis was in Leary's phone as "Puller."

According to the probable cause statement, officers saw Dennis and White leave the latter's home in north Columbia. They said many of the communications between Dennis and Leary happened while Dennis was at or in the area of White's home.

When White was later arrested in September on suspicion of drug delivery, police said he spoke by jail phone with Dennis a number of times.

Police arrested Dennis during a traffic stop. During that stop, officers reported finding marijuana, and said Dennis tried to conceal more marijuana by eating it. Court documents said he later confessed to eating the marijuana. He faces separate charges for the traffic stop and related events, including delivery of a controlled substance and tampering with evidence.

Dennis' arraignment is scheduled for Friday afternoon.

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