Providence man indicted on murder charge in OD death of Cranston woman

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A Providence man has been indicted on a murder charge in connection with the overdose death of a Cranston woman last year.

The office of Attorney General Peter Kilmartin announced the indictment on Tuesday, charging that Aaron Andrade, 23, of 108 Providence St., was responsible for the death of Kristen Couto, 29, of Cranston, when he sold her a lethal dose of nearly pure fentanyl in February of last year.

Andrade also faces one count of possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver and one count of delivery of a controlled substance.

A powerful synthetic opioid said to be more potent than morphine, fentanyl has been named in an epidemic of overdose deaths in the last couple of years when dealers started blending it with heroin. It can be deadly to people who are accustomed to conventional strength heroin sold on the streets.

“It is alleged that on or about February 17, 2014, Andrade sold an illicit product containing nearly pure fentanyl to Couto, causing her death,” according to the attorney general’s press release on the indictment.

Couto was found unresponsive in her motor vehicle that evening, in the area of Farmington Avenue and Hubbard Street in Cranston. The medical examiner determined the cause of death was fentanyl intoxication.

Cranston Detective Sgt. Kevin Antonucci, assigned to the DEA Task Force in Providence, developed the information that led authorities to Andrade as the person who sold Couto the drug.

Andrade is being held without bail as a probation violator. After being arrested in Pawtucket last year, he was convicted of possession of narcotics in March and sentenced to six months in jail and 66 months probation. He will be arraigned in Providence County Superior Court on Feb. 16.

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