Crime

She ran a heroin party house, and made customers pay a cover to get in, cops say

Danielle Baggett
Danielle Baggett

A Florida woman is accused of running a heroin party house — and collecting a cover charge before customers could go inside to get high.

The 37-year-old Sarasota woman, Danielle Baggett, was arrested April 11 on a charge of a nuisance dwelling, where deputies responded to seven overdoses, including her own.

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Section was looking into the surge of suspected heroin and fentanyl overdoses, in particular at a home in the 4500 block of South Lockwood Ridge Road starting in August 2016. Deputies had been to the house, called by some as a “drug flop house,” 33 times since the start of the investigation for non-overdose related calls.

Detectives interviewed Baggett and she assured them that she was trying to “clean up” illegal activities at the house, according to the probable cause affidavit.

But over a period of seven months, victims would use heroin — sometimes cut with methamphetamine, sometimes with fentanyl — and then overdose.

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Three of the overdoses happened one day after the next. Baggett was at the house each time deputies would respond and resuscitate them. One of the victims said he was dragged from the house and left in the front yard as he was overdosing.

According to the affidavit, the victims told detectives that Baggett created an environment at her house “for everyone to get high.” It was so exclusive, Baggett required a sort of cover fee of drugs before anyone could go inside, according to the affidavit.

The sheriff’s office said her prior record included arrests for marijuana possession, drug paraphernalia possession, dealing in stolen property and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Baggett was held at the Sarasota County jail on a $1,500 bond and was released April 12, but the investigation is ongoing and more charges are expected, according to the sheriff’s office.

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