Mom Who Bought Fentanyl With Stimulus Check Money Sentenced For 30 Years For Her Son’s Death

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Immediately after the pandemic relief payments started with the $1,200 stimulus check in April 2020, experts had feared that the money would be misused by many. It was estimated that close to 25 million Americans would use the money to buy alcohol, drugs, and tobacco. 

When the total shutdown was imposed weeks after the pandemic hit America, nearly 160 million Americans were less than three months away from running out of money and on the brink of starvation and homelessness. 

In Texas, 35-year-old Ashley Baker was charged with a felony for importing Fentanyl and two counts of Trafficking in a Controlled substance (First Degree). She overdosed on the drugs and fell asleep with her son beside her. The child consumed the dangerous drug and Ashley found him unconscious when she regained her senses. He was brought dead to the hospital. 

She was facing a murder conviction that carried a punishment between two and five decades in prison, even life. The other charges each carry a possible sentence of five to ten years behind bars. 

Baker was arrested by the Ludlow Police Dept. on March 18, 2021, after a preliminary investigation found her guilty on multiple counts including the death of Jaxson Vogt, her son. The child’s father called 911. 

First responders found the contents of Baker’s purse scattered around the room, including the packet of fentanyl. She was taking a nap when the child rummaged through her bag and consumed the drug. Ashley was also found guilty of selling the drug to two individuals in Ludlow after she pushed them in Cincinnati. The considerable amount she received from the first stimulus check proved handy for her. 

The attorney for the commonwealth had then stated that addicts should ensure that their children are safe by keeping the drugs away from the reach of children or giving the children to someone who can raise them in a safe and drug-free environment. He stressed that addiction could not be an excuse for putting a child’s life in danger. 

Numerous Reports Suggest Stimulus Check And Opioid Overdose Linked

Right from the first round of stimulus checks, there was concern about how people may be spending their stimulus money. Experts say that addicts were not used to handling money in such large sums and when they get hundreds of dollars in stimulus check money at a go, there is bound to be a misuse of the funds. 

Medical experts and workers on the ground fighting addiction reported an increase in overdoses after the first stimulus check. Health workers handed out extra syringes ahead of the stimulus check payments, realizing that there would be a spurt in the use of drugs.

Detailed research in America has revealed that there has been a spurt in the opioid epidemic since the pandemic spread through the US, leading to the greatest lockdown in the nation’s history. 

There is plenty of data that establishes overdoses and drug-related deaths are directly linked to an influx of cash directly, including stimulus checks. Those in recovery vouch for the fact. 

There were more than 81,000 deaths from a drug overdose that coincided with the distribution of stimulus checks during the initial months of the pandemic.

Data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that the highest number of overdose deaths has been reported in the months after the stimulus checks were paid out. 

Over $4 billion was designated for the treatment of mental and substance abuse disorders in the latest round of COVID-19 relief bills. 

Jurors Decide Baker’s Case In Two Hours

It took jurors two hours on April 21 to declare 38-year-old Lauren Baker guilty. She was charged with murder, importing fentanyl, and an additional 2 counts of trafficking in fentanyl. Four days later she was sentenced by the jury to a total of 33 years in prison. Baker must stay behind bars for at least twenty of those years before she can be considered for parole. 

Rob Sander, the attorney for Kenton County Commonwealth noted that no plea deals were offered to Lauren Baker. He called the case “sadly historic”. It is the first case of a murder conviction in the county related to death from a drug overdose. 

In a statement, Sander said that the offensive and shocking events surrounding Jaxon’s death warranted nothing less than a life sentence. The top prosecutor gave credit to the jury for sending out a strong message to drug addicts that they would have to pay heavily if their children died or was harmed as a result of their drug abuse. 

Jason, the  2-year-old child, was found unconscious by his father in his mother’s lap after consuming fentanyl that Lauren left lying around in her purse after overdosing on the drug back in March 2021.

Lauren was found incoherent and unaware of the situation when first interviewed by Ludlow Police Dept. officers. She admitted to buying a large quantity of fentanyl as it was hectic running around while being sick. She said that she would be sick most of the time. 

She said that she thought that if she bought the drug in greater quantity with her stimulus check amount it would last her a long time. 

Lauren received $5,600 in stimulus check payments and spend $1,200 of it to buy the drug. 

Lauren said that she was depressed after she found out that she was pregnant again. Baker travelled all the way to Cincinnati, Ohio, a week earlier to stock up on the large quantity of fentanyl that she procured with the stimulus check money. 

She returned to Kentucky. She admitted that she sold a part of her purchase to two different addicts. One of them was the child’s father. Edwin Suda, and another woman. She then took a shot of the drug and lost consciousness with her son beside her. 

Prosecutors say that Edwin and the other woman who bought the drug testified at the trial against Lauren. They admitted to procuring part of the fentanyl that Lauren bought with the stimulus check money. 

The child’s father, Edwin, was at work when the incident took place.