Three men pleaded guilty before a federal judge over the last week to conspiring in heroin trafficking in Columbia.
34-year-old Toney Antwane Jones, 31-year-old Gregory Lamont Townsend, and 36-year-old Terrell Deandre Williams all appeared in court for the same charge.
Jones and Townsend are both from Columbia; and Williams from St. Louis.
According to court documents, Williams gave heroin to Townsend and Jones to distribute in Columbia.
Columbia police were called to a motel in May 2012 in response to a heroin overdose.
A woman was found without a pulse and not breathing, and someone in a nearby room gave CPR to the woman. When emergency responders arrived, the woman had a faint pulse.
Later that same day, May 8th, the woman told police that she and her fiance bought heroin from Townsend.
They met Jones, who was sent by Townsend to complete the $30 heroin transaction at another motel.
When the woman and her fiance returned to their room, the woman took half the heroin and overdosed.
Officers conducted surveillance at the motel where Jones was staying.
Two people were stopped after leaving the motel, admitting they bought heroin from Townsend.
The next day, May 9th, a search warrant was completed at the hotel. They found Jones in the hotel bathroom with 9 grams of heroin.
Police arrested Townsend after a short chase on foot the next day. Investigators determined Williams was the source of Townsend's heroin supply.
With the help of a source, investigators staged a fake heroin transaction with Williams. Williams agreed to sell two ounces of heroin to the source's girlfriend for nearly $5,000.
Each suspect faces 20 years in prison without parole, plus a $1 million fine.