Coroner’s Report: Massive meth overdose led to Lander man’s death

(Riverton, Wyo.) – A man who was first thought to have died of a heart attack on May 3rd of this year actually died of a massive overdose of methamphetamine, according to a Fremont County Coroner’s Verdict and Case Docket. The death of Greg Matthews, 51, of Lander, has been ruled accidental due to methamphetamine toxicity.

“He had an astonishingly large amount of meth in his system,” said Chief Deputy Coroner Mark Stratmoen, referring to results of tests. Those tests revealed Matthew’s level of meth in his system to be 3,100 ng/ml, which is three times the fatal amount and six times the toxic level of the drug.

It was the first methamphetamine-caused death recorded in the county since June of 2012, and the first since the illegal drug seems to be making a comeback in the area.

“It’s not the first death where we’ve found methamphetamine in someone’s system, but it’s the first death due specifically to a Methamphetamine overdose in the last two years,” Stratmoen said Monday. The peak year for methamphetamine-related deaths was 2005, when he said 15 deaths were recorded, according to statistics at the coroner’s office.

Riverton Police Captain Eric Murphy said the RPD noted four more methamphetamine arrests over the weekend, following a number the previous week and several others in the week before that, including a report of a new kind of the drug, Monster Meth, which has been resulting in many people suffering from hallucinations in public places.

Fremont County Attorney Michael Bennett said meth cases tend to come in waves as supply comes and goes with prosecution. He noted that the Tim Pitt case in recent years cut supply for a while, but it seems to be coming back. 

“I don’t necessarily think more people are using meth,” he said, crediting law enforcement’s awareness for the recent uptick in arrests. “Law enforcement is working very hard to stay on top of it.”
“It’s one of my top priorities,” he said of meth. “I have a zero tolerance policy.”
When sentencing methamphetamine cases, Bennett said he prefers to see a combination of incarceration and substance abuse treatment. Stemming the demand for meth via treatment is critical in slowing the supply, he said.

The Lander man’s death came a month before 15 people were scooped up in a large methamphetamine bust coordinated by the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation out of Casper that had local implications. The RPD and the Fremont County Sheriff’s Department assisted in several of those arrests. See that story here.

Fremont County Methamphetamine deaths by year:

2005 – 15

2006 – 3

2007 – 1

2008 – 3

2009 – 2

2010 – 3

2011 – 0

2012 – 2

2013 – 0

2014 (to date) – 1

 

22 Comments

  1. Jennifer Jahns

    You guys should be ashamed. He has a family and it's not public business! If your want to talk about someone else's heartache maybe you should leave the family a little dignity and keep his name confidential!

  2. Lisa Reichert

    The problem, also as has been reported, is that the meth that is around right now is just not the same. I am not saying that is a contributing factor in this case, but merely saying that people should have a heads-up that buying and ingesting anything made in someone's bathtub or homelab, or even a two-bit professional— YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE GETTING. People right now that are ingesting meth are having horrible side effects.

  3. Andelee ChargingHawk

    Agreed!! Unprofessional!

  4. Sherry Blackburn

    Zero tolerance? Who else lets a man cook meth and gives him probation?

  5. Lois Coker

    your right Jen

  6. Anita Roman McLaughlin

    My thoughts exactly. What Bennet means is he has zero tolerance for anyone that is NOT white that does/cooks/consumes meth. But if you're a middle American white male, you get 5 years probation….

  7. Stacey Lyn Meeks- Pantle

    I agree!

  8. Joe Brandl

    Bennett has zero tolerance????????? he needs to go in the next election!!

  9. Kilynn Irvine

    So so sad……Meth seems to be taking over small towns causing heartache and hurt all around.

  10. Lisa Reichert

    The state does require that statistics are kept on unexplained deaths. It is news when someone in a community comes up with an unusual toxicology, it can serve as an alarm to the community. The family was probably aware of issues.

  11. Jodi Moll

    what a joke…ZERO TOLERANCE! Ha ha

  12. Wolf Paws

    "The Lander man’s death came a month before 15 people were [arrested for meth]." He died May 3rd, so that makes today….anybody got a calendar handy?

  13. Johnna Vinich

    Many of the Police Men in Lander an Riverton are some of the Main dealers.. Also a lot of people in lander who's familys All do it are the narks.. Duh Fremont County as if you didn't allready know.

  14. Shalena Heller

    I have a zero tolerance???? Confused, didn't you just give probation for a method seller??

  15. Amy Hadley Rushforth

    It is a matter of public record and important for parents and families to know what drugs are available and out there. Sad non the less and hard for the loved ones. Prayers for their healing.

  16. Lloyd Glade

    I'm with you…I'm tired of hearing of people being victimized by a someone's 'zero tolerance' policy.

  17. Eric Shoup

    I vote Patrick lebrun for county attorney, sorry about this man who lost his life and for his family dealing with such heartache. You want changes in this county? vote for Patrick lebrun!

  18. Forrest Phillips

    Doesn't take rocket science to figure out what's right and what's wrong,if you're going to do what's wrong eventually you'll pay the price whether it's mans laws or natures!

  19. Forrest Phillips

    I'm missing something What exactly does this have to do with Mr. Matthews Death, seems like someone got things mixed up!!

  20. Anita Roman McLaughlin

    Forrest Phillips Bennett claiming he has zero tolerance… Why put that quote in a coroners report???

  21. Forrest Phillips

    I don't ever recall hearing that there was ever any kind of quality control department that watched over the manufacture of meth that made it safe or safer to use, I'm pretty sure the side effects are pretty much what has been requisitioned by the user!

  22. Lisa Reichert

    Actually, there are some pretty decent chemists in the world. The drug did originate early in the century and was used in controlled experiments. And, I have attended some seminars directed at health care professionals, and there are ways to conduct purity assays, and even know where different batches are "cooked" by their ingredients. Some people can get high grade chemicals, and some use drano. But, I certainly am not saying there is any good meth. There are some "strains" or "batches" that could certainly be more potent, toxic, or have different effects.

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