Minnesota Woman, Boyfriend, and Dealer Charged with Third Degree Murder in Teen’s Drug Overdose

Fox Bellanger
Fox Bellanger

SAUK RAPIDS, MN (trfnews.i234.me) – In a tragic turn of events, a Sauk Rapids, Minnesota woman, her boyfriend, and another man from Waubun are now facing charges of third-degree murder following the drug overdose death of her 16-year-old son. Crystal Swenson, Anthony Costello, and Fox Ballinger have been implicated in the devastating incident that unfolded in early March.

According to court documents, on March 2nd, 2024, the police responded to Swenson and Costello’s residence in Sauk Rapids, where they discovered Swenson’s teenage son unresponsive on the floor near the downstairs bathroom. Despite efforts to revive him, the young boy was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital. Authorities found two pieces of tin foil with burn marks, indicative of drug use, beneath his body.

Per the criminal complaint, Costello recounted that he had witnessed the victim making gurgling sounds around 9:30 a.m. that morning. In an attempt to assist, he purportedly shook and slapped the teenager, even pouring water on him, to no avail. Eventually, he admitted to leaving the victim at the bottom of the stairs with a space heater beside him, only to find him in the same position hours later, unresponsive. Costello disclosed that earlier that morning, the victim had left to procure cocaine through his mother, Swenson.

Further investigation revealed that the cocaine obtained by the victim was allegedly mixed with the potent synthetic opioid, fentanyl, a deadly combination that led to his untimely demise. Authorities traced the lethal substance back to Fox Ballinger of Waubun, who is accused of selling the fatal concoction.

All three individuals involved—Swenson, Costello, and Ballinger—now face charges of third-degree murder, each potentially carrying a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. The tragic loss of a young life serves as a stark reminder of the dangers associated with substance abuse and the devastating consequences it can have on families and communities.

As the legal proceedings unfold, the community mourns the loss of the teenager while grappling with the harsh realities of drug-related fatalities. The case underscores the urgent need for heightened awareness, prevention, and intervention strategies to combat the pervasive issue of substance abuse and its devastating impact on individuals and families across the nation.

I’m Neil Berg reporting for trfnews.i234.me

Anthony Costello


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