Deltona, FL – Murder indictments were returned by a Volusia County grand jury today (April 23) for two heroin dealers arrested in VCSO’s October 2018 “Operation Geronimo.” The pair, 43-year-old Sergio Perez and 27-year-old Melanie Cunningham are charged as the result of investigations into the deaths of 34-year-old Joshua Lacy and 51-year-old Heather McCurdy in 2018.
Lacy was found dead in his father’s home in Deltona on April 13, 2018. His cell phone showed text messages and a record of calls from heroin connections. The investigation determined that he’d bought heroin the night before he died, leading detectives to Perez and Cunningham. Lacy’s autopsy showed cause of death as heroin toxicity.
McCurdy died in a Deltona Winn-Dixie parking about 16 minutes after buying heroin on June 22, 2018. The last text messages on her phone were from a contact named “Melanie.” Detectives found that McCurdy purchased the heroin from Cunningham around 3 p.m. The autopsy determined time of death as around 3:16 p.m. and that cause of death was fentanyl toxicity.
Today’s murder indictments are numbers three and four in overdose deaths being investigated by VCSO since 2017.
In June 2018, a grand jury indicted 31-year-old Steve Montilla of Sanford in the October 2017 fatal heroin overdose of 34-year-old Jacqueline Griggs of Deltona. In September 2018, a grand jury indicted 24-year-old Hunter Romaine of DeBary in the February 2018 overdose death of 33-year-old Ashley Barrett, who died with a combination of cocaine and fentanyl in her system.
“Every drug overdose death in Volusia County is going to be investigated as a homicide, and every dealer responsible is going to receive the full attention of our deputies and detectives,” Sheriff Chitwood said. “The victims in these cases are not just the addicts – they’re the families, and sometimes the young children, who are left behind. I want to thank our detectives, the State Attorney’s Office and the members of the grand jury for all their work in helping remove these merchants of death from our streets.”
The Perez and Cunningham cases are being prosecuted by the office of State Attorney R.J. Larizza, who stated: “We at the Seventh Circuit State Attorney’s Office are proud to be a part of the tri-agency partnership with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Attorney General’s Office in making our communities better and safer for our families, friends, and neighbors.”
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate several other fatal drug overdose cases where murder charges are possible.