Hatfield man dies from fentanyl-laced meth, alleged dealer charged

Montgomery County prosecutors have brought new charges against the man accused of selling fentanyl-laced narcotics that allegedly caused at least one fatal overdose.

Ronald Brauning, 40, of Abington, was charged this week with drug delivery resulting in death charges for allegedly selling the drugs that caused the Aug. 14, 2017 fatal overdose of Ronald Solomon.

Brauning has been in police custody since Solomon’s death. He was arrested about forty-five minutes later after police found him parked outside a hotel in Flourtown and sleeping in the driver’s seat. He was allegedly found to possess 10 bags of narcotics, which included a bag of fentanyl-laced heroin, according to a police report, at the time. The drug delivery resulting in death charges, a homicide charge that can carry up to 20 to 40 years in prison, were filed six months later. 

Prosecutors say Brauning’s drugs caused multiple ODs in August of 2017, he had ODed on it himself, yet allegedly continued to sell it.

‘I od[ed]. I tried s— I was hustling to see if it was good. But it was fentanyl [sic],” Brauning allegedly texted a female friend on Sunday, Aug. 13 around 6:50 p.m., according to records in the police report.

Several customers of Brauning’s reported fentanyl-related overdoses from this batch of drugs that weekend.

One female witness told police “four people split one bag of heroin they bought from Ronald Brauning and all four of them overdosed,” the police report states. “Ronald Brauning told her he overdosed on this same heroin earlier in the week and that it had fentanyl in it. She advised she overdosed on this same heroin with fentanyl on Saturday and was revived in a bathtub.”

Solomon had reportedly returned on Sunday from a camping trip with his fiance and their children. He left her house on Sunday evening and met Brauning, then returned and unpacked camping supplies from the car with her, she told police, until she fell asleep. When she woke around 2:30 a.m. he was unconscious. Despite first responders administering two doses of Naxolone, he could not be resuscitated, the police report said.

Police later discovered a small packet of methamphetamine hidden inside Solomon’s orange cell phone case, which tested positive for the presence of fentanyl. According to his death certificate, he died of a combination of heroin, fentanyl, acetyl fentanyl, amphetamine and methamphetamine.

Prosecutors say texts between Solomon and Brauning’s cell phone numbers arranging the meet-up prove Brauning sold the fatal batch of drugs to Solomon despite knowing it was laced with fentanyl.

“This dealer knew how deadly these drugs were and sold it to the victim anyway, just to make money,” Montgomery County DA Kevin Steele said in a statement. “This is our first arrest for this charge in 2018, and mark my words, more arrests will be coming.”

An obituary remembered Solomon, a Norristown native and father of three who worked for a towing company, as having “a love for racing, watching football, and fishing in any water hole he could find.”

“Ron will be deeply missed by his family and friends, and forever remembered for his loving commitment and devotion to his children,” the obituary read.

By the Numbers

Overdoses have risen sharply in Montgomery County in recent years.

Meth-fentanyl fatal ODs:

2016: 8

Through 3rd quarter of 2017: 19

Overall drug-related deaths:

2014: 161

2015: 177  

2016: 249 

Through 3rd quarter of 2017: 195 

Source: Montgomery County Coroner’s Office

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