NewsPolk CountyWinter Haven


Winter Haven woman charged with murder for selling lethal dose of fentanyl-laced heroin

Posted at 10:36 AM, Mar 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-07 19:10:25-05

A Winter Haven woman was charged with murder for selling a lethal dose of fentanyl-laced heroin that killed a 31-year-old.

In late October of 2017, Polk County deputies found the 31-year-old dead, with heroin/fentanyl baggies and syringes in her bedroom.

During a search of that woman's phone, deputies found several text messages from the same week, inquiring about buying $95 worth of heroin.

It was discovered that an exchange was made in the presence of a witness.

Detectives identified the dealer as Melita Mendez, and undercover deputies set up a deal. They made a purchase from Mendez, then searched her house and placed her under arrest. In that time Mendez admitted to selling the potentially fatal dose of heroin to the woman.

Lab results showed there was fentanyl in the heroin, classifying the crime under the First Degree Murder statute. Mendez has also been charged in the past in Polk County with trafficking heroin (F1), conspiracy to traffick heroin (F1), selling heroin (F2), possession with intent to sell, deliver, or manufacture heroin (F2), use of 2-way communication device to commit a felony (F-3), storing drugs in a home (M1), two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia (M1), resisting arrest (M1), and possession of marijuana (M1). 

"This is how dangerous it is to become addicted to heroin, or any drug for that matter," Sheriff Grady Judd said. "Drug dealers are only concerned about making money, they don't care about how this drug can ruin someone's life. Thankfully, the legislation passed the new law encompassing the sale of heroin laced with fentanyl into the first-degree murder statute. Now, Mendez can be rightfully held accountable for her actions." 

Mendez's husband, Idlefonso Mendez Rios, was also arrested and charged with possession of methadone, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of prescription medication without a prescription, resisting officers without violence, and served with a warrant for failure to appear at the Polk County Jail Weekend Work Release Program (Driving While License Suspended or Revoked, Possession of Heroin, Possession of Prescription Drug without a Prescription, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia). 

Rios was found hiding in a bedroom closet.