ALLENTOWN, Pa. | A Bethlehem man is facing allegations that he sold phony Percocet that led to his buyer’s overdose death.
Authorities charged Robert Favinger Jr. with drug delivery resulting in death in connection with the overdose death of Isaiah Cruz more than a year ago. On Thursday, the 30-year-old waived his right to a preliminary hearing, sending all charges against him to Lehigh County Court.
Just before 3 a.m. Dec. 3, 2019, a Bethlehem police officer was flagged down at Hayes and East Third streets for an apparent overdose victim in a car. Police said the victim, identified Cruz, was given medical treatment and taken to St. Luke’s University Hospital in Fountain Hill, where he was pronounced dead just before 4 a.m.
The Lehigh County Coroner’s Office determined in January 2020 that his cause of death was a fentanyl overdose, according to the criminal complaint filed against Favinger.
Investigators with the Bethlehem Police Department said a review of Cruz’s cell phone turned up text messages between him and someone named “Bobby” in the days just prior to Cruz’s death. Police said Cruz was negotiating a drug deal for “perks” or Percocet, and investigators said they identified “Bobby” as Favinger, according to court records.
The texts show Favinger was negotiating with Cruz over the price of the pills and included messages such as, “Sorry I need to eat …” and “I’m making my own cousin pay 40 bro,” according to court records.
Investigators said it was the last drug deal on Cruz’s phone before his overdose.
A witness told police that Cruz had been at his Allentown home on Dec. 2, 2019, and already appeared to be under the influence. He told investigators that Cruz passed out at one point, and that he decided to take him to a friend’s house hours later in search of Naloxone. Unable to find any, the witness decided to take Cruz to the hospital and instead flagged down police on the way.
Police interviewed Favinger, who allegedly admitted arranging via text message a drug deal with Cruz and “being present” when the deal went down at Favinger’s Brookside Drive home in Bethlehem. Favinger told police someone witnessed the deal.
The witness told police that he saw Cruz at “Bobby’s house” the day before his overdose and witnessed the drug deal. The witness initially told investigators that another person gave Cruz the drugs but immediately changed the story and admitted that it was Favinger.
The witness also told police that Favinger knew he sold Cruz a “fetty” or a counterfeit Percocet that contains fentanyl.
Bethlehem police in August charged Favinger with single felony counts of drug delivery resulting in death, criminal use of a communication device and possession with intent to deliver. After failing to post $250,000 bail, he remains in Lehigh County Jail ahead of a formal arraignment scheduled for Feb. 18.