2 Chicago men sold fentanyl-laced heroin at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center: complaints

Two Chicago men are accused of selling fentanyl-laced heroin at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center on the Near West Side.

Richard A. Husband, 73, has been charged with distribution of a controlled substance, specifically fentanyl-laced heroin.

Wayne Townsend, 71, is charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, specifically a quantity of fentanyl-laced heroin.

Richard A. Husband

According to a criminal complaint filed in court last week, at about 9:54 a.m. on July 22, Husband was in a motorized wheelchair and was seated next to Individual A.

Another person, identified in the complaint as Individual C, was seated across from Husband on a bench.

Husband then allegedly reached into a bag and sorted through the bag as Individual C counted cash in his hand.

Individual C approached Husband, looked around the area and then reached over to take an item from Husband, the complaint says.

It is believed at this time that Husband distributed a controlled substance to Individual C.


After allegedly distributing a controlled substance to Individual C, Husband turned his wheelchair toward Individual A and another person, identified as Individual B in the complaint.

Husband is seen on video surveillance reaching his hand around the area of his wheelchair.

After a short while, Individual A is seen with a clear plastic bag in his hands. At that time, prosecutors believe Husband distributed fentanyl-laced heroin to Individual A.

At about 10:50 a.m. on July 22, law enforcement observed another person, identified as Individual D, in distress near a bus stop.

A law enforcement official administered a dose of NARCAN and performed chest rubs on Individual D, the complaint said.

Individual D was unresponsive, so a second and third dose of NARCAN were administered.

At 11:15 a.m., Chicago firefighters and an ambulance arrived at the scene and took Individual D to the hospital.

Days later, Individual D spoke with law enforcement officials, and said he purchased two dime bags of heroin from Husband on July 22 for $20.

On July 26, law enforcement officials spoke to another person, identified as Individual B in the complaint.

Individual B said on July 22 at about 10:30 a.m., he met with Individual A at the front of the VA Medical Center.

Individual A told Individual B that Individual A was waiting for Husband to meet with him.

After that, Individual A went to an ATM and withdrew about $60 in cash.

Husband and Individual A went off to the side of the room, and Husband allegedly gave Individual A five bags of gray heroin in clear, pink and yellow baggies.

After Husband gave the drugs to Individual A, Individual A and Individual B went to a bathroom, and Individual A cut the baggies that Husband had distributed with some other substance, the complaint said.

A witness, identified as Individual E, told law enforcement officials on July 26, that he observed Husband distributing narcotics to individuals whom Individual E believed to be veterans and employees of the VA Medical Center.

The narcotics that Husband distributed at the VA Medical Center were nicknamed "gray death," because of the strength of the narcotics, and the number of overdoses that had occurred because of the narcotics, the complaint said.

On July 26, the daughter of Individual A met with law enforcement officials and said that she and another family member found Individual A dead in his home, and several baggies.

According to the complaint, testing revealed that Individual A had controlled substances in his system. 

The controlled substances included 6- Monoacetylmorphine (or 6-MAM),8 fentanyl, and acetyl fentanyl.

The charges against Husband are each punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.

Wayne Townsend

At about 9:30 a.m. on June 25, a pedestrian notified a law enforcement official about a black Kia parked on the first floor of the VA facility parking lot.

The pedestrian said a door of the Kia was open.

A law enforcement official approached the Kia and saw in plain view a clear straw with gray powder residue inside of it in the center console area, the complaint said.

Law enforcement ran the license plate and determined the vehicle was registered to Townsend.

At about 10 a.m., Townsend and a person, identified in a criminal complaint as Individual A, approached the Kia.

Law enforcement asked for permission to search the vehicle, which was granted by Townsend.

During the search, law enforcement officials allegedly recovered a clear straw with powdery residue inside of it. The powder inside the straw tested positive for the presence of fentanyl and heroin. About $1,000 was also recovered.

After searching the Kia, law enforcement officials arrested Townsend and search him.

During the search of Townsend, law enforcement recovered $200 from his pocket and about nine baggies containing a white powdery substance. The baggies were blue pink and green.

The powder inside the bags tested positive for the presence of fentanyl and heroin, the complaint says.

In an interview with law enforcement, Townsend allegedly admitted to selling heroin to about 10 people at the VA facility.

The charges against Townsend are each punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.