Yesterday EPPD detectives Travis Serafin and Mark Gustad were awarded the Tri-County Investigator of the Year Award by the Tri-County Law Enforcement Association for their work in establishing a precedent for investigating heroin overdose deaths.
Detectives Serafin and Gustad were nominated by their EPPD colleagues for their investigation into five heroin overdose deaths in the metro area that were all linked to the same dealer, Beverly Burrell. The EPPD got involved in April 2016 when a man died of a heroin overdose in the parking lot of the Eden Prairie Costco.
Through investigation and surveillance, Burrell was identified as a suspect and linked to four additional deaths. During a search of her home, investigators located 27 grams of heroin and $120,000 in cash. In May 2016 Burrell was arrested and charged with five counts of 3rd-degree homicide.
In September 2017 Burrell was sentenced to 14 years in prison for two of the five overdose deaths. The remaining three cases will go to trial in 2018.
Because of the thorough and successful investigative methods used by detectives Serafin and Gustad, they have been asked to assist other agencies across the state in investigating heroin overdoses. The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office has recommended that agencies investigating heroin overdose deaths contact detectives Serafin and Gustad for guidance and templates, as they have set a high standard for the investigation process.
The EPPD believes that holding drug dealers criminally responsible for the deaths of overdose victims will help disrupt the flow of drugs into our community and will send a message to dealers that the consequences of drug dealing are severe. We are proud of the work done by detectives Serafin and Gustad to that end and are pleased that they were recognized by the Tri-County Law Enforcement Association.