Police charge third person in methadone related death

by Alicia McCutcheon

M’CHIGEENG—With the third manslaughter charge laid in the death of M’Chigeeng’s Trista Panamick, the 22-year-old woman who died as a result of a methadone overdose on July 3, 2011, the chief of the United Chiefs and Councils of Manitoulin (UCCM) Anishnaabe Police Service said he hopes his organization is sending a clear message to drug traffickers.

On Thursday, January 27, the UCCM Police sent the latest release regarding the case, this time informing the public of the arrest of a 27-year-old Toronto man, Mario Kymarri Shamar Barnes, as a result of the investigation into the death of Ms. Panamick. Like the previous arrests before him, first 24-year-old Luke Pierre Anwhatin in November and, two weeks ago, Melanie Migwans (Armstrong), all of M’Chigeeng, all three face charges of manslaughter and drug trafficking.

UCCM Police Chief Rodney Nahwegahbow said the most recent arrest, that of Mr. Barnes, was an individual known to police due to his involvement with the illicit drug trade in southern Ontario.

“The three (individuals charged) are acquaintances,” he added.

In a court transcript from Mr. Anwhatin’s bail hearing obtained by The Expositor, the paper learned the bottle of empty methadone found at the crime scene did in fact belong to Mr. Anwhatin. When asked about the involvement of Ms. Migwans and Mr. Barnes, the police chief said all three were involved in the trafficking of Mr. Anwhatin’s methadone prescription.

“This summarizes the investigation on this case,” Police Chief Nahwegahbow said, “and it marks a good milestone. It shows the magnitude and reach of this case. This just shows how our officers have worked tirelessly on this case since July.”

“Hopefully the family can now have some closure and the community can move forward,” he added.