Robinson man admits he sold drugs, but denies providing pills for fatal overdose

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A former supplier of pilfered pills to Beaver County addicts, whose cell phone a prosecutor described as "the Amazon.com of drug deals," today testified that he sold a veritable pharmaceutical cornucopia, but not the pills that killed his friend.

David Best, 28, of Robinson, admitted that he went drinking with his friend, Chris Radford, on the May 2012 night before he was found dead in his bedroom in Economy. Mr. Best said that Radford had already taken eight Xanax before they went out, and was "relentless that evening" begging for other pills.

"What matters is, I didn't give him drugs that evening," Mr. Best said under cross-examination by assistant U.S. attorney Eric Rosen.

Mr. Best admitted lying to girlfriends, friends, police and his mother, but said this time, he wasn't fibbing. "I've stuck to my story from Day One, because it's the truth."

Mr. Best added that Radford owed him money for pills he fronted in the past, and for a $50 loan. Though Mr. Best had oxycodone pills with him that night, he testified, he would not provide them because of the debt.

Mr. Best admitted that he wrote off part of the debt in return for some Trazodone pills Radford gave him that evening.

Another drug dealer testified last week that Mr. Best shared a crushed Opana with her and with Radford on the night before the young man's death. Mr. Best said today that he didn't have Opana that night, though he had some days earlier.

Mr. Best also confirmed that he sweet-talked a then-girlfriend who worked at a Med-Fast pharmacy into repeatedly stealing pills for him, and later robbed the pharmacy repeatedly.

Mr. Rosen said that according to Mr. Best's phone records, his offerings included morphine, Ritalin, Opana and many other drugs.

"It wasn't out of the ordinary for me to sell 60 Opana in two hours" for $45 each, Mr. Best testified, adding that he did it to finance his own addiction, not out of greed.

Shortly after Mr. Best's testimony, U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab closed the record in the case. Closing arguments are set for Wednesday morning.

Mr. Best faces charges of conspiracy to distribute Opana and oxycodone, possession with intent to sell those narcotics, brandishing a firearm while drug trafficking, three burglaries of a pharmacy, drug possession and selling drugs that caused a death.

If found guilty of selling drugs that resulted in death, Mr. Best would face a minimum of 20 years in prison.


Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord.

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