Man charged in Concord fentanyl overdose death

  • Troy Silva with his daughter Courtney at her wedding in July, a few weeks before his death of an overdose.

Monitor staff
Published: 4/11/2021 11:00:11 AM

Months after a prominent member of the recovery community overdosed, the man accused of selling him fentanyl hours before his death has been arrested.

Matthew Colby was arrested on charges of a drug sale with death resulting in late March.

Troy Silva, who died in August, was like a superstar in Concord’s recovery community for founding and leading a group centered around meditation at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Concord.

Silva wore dark Ray-Bans, an earring in his left ear, shirts that barely covered lots and lots of tattoos, and he often had a Marlboro Red hanging out of his mouth. He swore like a sailor – after all, he was a fisherman for years in Bedford, Massachusetts, before moving to New Hampshire.

A closer look revealed a softer side. Underneath his sneakers, his nails were always painted from trips to the nail salon with his two daughters, and his proclivity for profanity was complemented by an equally extensive vocabulary of unusual words he liked to define for his friends, like “chicanery” and “conviviality.”

After developing an important role in the community and achieving 10 years of sobriety from heroin and alcohol, he began to relapse in 2018.

In April 2020, he mentioned fentanyl to one of his friends during a casual lunch date. He described it as “heroin on steroids.”

Police found him on his kitchen floor in August— an autopsy later confirmed he had overdosed on a combination of fentanyl and cocaine.

Fentanyl, an increasingly popular synthetic opioid, is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, researchers say. In New Hampshire, the drug was involved in more than three-quarters of the fatal overdoses this year.

After receiving Silva’s cellphone and password from his girlfriend, detectives found a text conversation between him and Colby the night before his death.

Court records show that hours before his death, Silva texted Colby and asked, “you got anything,” to which Colby later responded he should “come on over.” Security camera video shows that Silva parked across the street from Colby’s apartment minutes later around 9:20 p.m.

Colby said the two were talking about rent money. He said Silva came to his apartment to give him rent money and asked him to work the next day.

Colby had known Silva for about a year and a half.

Silva had offered Colby work in 2020 after he lost his job, as Silva had done for many people in the recovery community. Colby told a detective he had been clean for six months.

In the morning, it wasn’t uncommon to see Silva in Cumberland Farms, balancing several cups of coffee as he walked to his car, packed with young men on their way to a job. Silva owned his own thriving construction business in Concord and offered work to anyone who needed it, as long as they followed him to a recovery meeting later that night.

Colby described Silva as an “honest person” and an “awesome dude,” according to an affidavit.

Using cell phone data, investigators were able to piece together some of Silva’s last moments alive.

He was thought to have returned back home from his trip to Colby’s apartment around 9:30. At 9:30, Silva sent his last text message to an old friend of his to arrange a potential golf outing. He took exactly 46 steps and then his activity fell silent.

Silva’s oldest daughter, Courtney, said she hopes Colby’s arrest will mean he won’t be able to sell drugs to others, but it doesn’t stop her from grieving her father’s death.

“It doesn’t bring my dad back,” she said. “Nothing will ever bring my dad back.”

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