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Accused dealer charged in Concord man’s overdose death

  • Spencer Grayson, 21, of Concord is accused of dispensing a drug that resulted in the death of Ryan Smith in July 2017. Grayson was arrested Friday, Nov. 10, 2017. —Courtesy



Monitor staff
Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Days before a Concord man died of a drug overdose, he had agreed to watch the back of his accused dealer, who in return promised him methamphetamine at a cut-rate price, according to a police affidavit.

Ryan Smith, 30, of Concord spent much of the 24 hours prior to his death with his dealer, Spencer Grayson, whom he accompanied to Manchester as part of their arrangement, to purchase fentanyl sold as heroin, police said. The two later shot up in a wooded area behind Cumberland Farms on North Main Street in Concord on July 26; both men lost consciousness, but Smith could not be revived.

Police have charged Grayson, 21, of Concord in connection with Smith’s death after a lengthy undercover investigation. Grayson was arrested Friday in Northfield and charged with two felony counts of acts prohibited for selling Smith the fentanyl and methamphetamine that police say resulted in his death.

Chief Medical Examiner Jennie Duval concluded Sept. 15 that Smith died of acute intoxication by fentanyl and methamphetamine following an autopsy that included a toxicology test.

Grayson also faces three felony counts of sale of a controlled drug. Police allege he sold methamphetamine and heroin to an undercover detective on three occasions in Concord in September. Those transactions occurred after Smith’s death and while Grayson was out of jail on bail in another drug case pending in Merrimack County Superior Court.

Grayson waived his arraignment Monday afternoon on the five latest felony charges in a case that will be prosecuted by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office. He is being held at the county jail in Boscawen for lack of $100,000 cash-only bail.

Building a case

Concord police responded to a reported drug overdose behind Cumberland Farms on July 26 at roughly 12:30 a.m. Smith was found unresponsive and taken by ambulance to Concord Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Grayson, who was one of two other people on scene, told police he had tried to perform CPR on Smith without success.

Police recovered two backpacks from the location, one belonging to Smith and another Grayson admitted to owning, according to a police affidavit. Grayson gave detectives both written and verbal consent for them to search his bag, which contained drug paraphernalia, including syringes, a digital scale, a mirror with apparent residue and lined paper containing drugs, police said.

During an interview, police pressed Grayson about the source of the drugs, but he said “he did not want to ‘rat’ out his dealers,” according to an affidavit prepared by Detective Brian Womersley. “Grayson said he did not want to be a ‘rat’ and felt that the overdose was solely Ryan’s own fault.”

Grayson went on to tell police he did not believe a dealer should be held accountable for a buyer’s overdose, and that he was not willing to help police identify the drug source, the affidavit says.

In speaking with two confidential informants, police said, they established that Grayson was a known methamphetamine and heroin dealer who had witnessed numerous overdoses as a result of his sales. Police also spoke with Smith’s sister, who had information that Grayson had supplied the drugs that resulted in her brother’s fatal overdose.

A review of Smith’s Facebook account revealed to police that he had purchased heroin and methamphetamine from Grayson on “numerous occasions,” Womersley wrote. When users messaged Smith about purchasing methamphetamine, he would get in contact with Grayson, police said.

Their brief Facebook messenger conversation in the weeks prior to Smith’s death charted new ground.

“I’ll keep you high as a kite and sell you tina [sic] at my price if you can be the muscle and back me up when I need it,” Grayson wrote using a slang term for methamphetamine.

Smith accepted Grayson’s offer on July 22.

Shortly after their first sale, a friend tried to warn Smith that Grayson was not selling pure heroin, but rather cutting it with something more lethal, Facebook messages show. She said in an exchange with Smith that Grayson was also aware that her friend had almost died.

Nonetheless, police say, Grayson drew from the same batch for Smith the next day, resulting in Smith’s death.

(Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 369-3319, adandrea@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @_ADandrea.)