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Convicted drug trafficker has prison term extended for dose that killed brother

| March 7, 2023

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (March 7, 2022) – A tragic case came to a close in Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court this morning. 

It involved a Warwick Township woman who gave her brother what ended up being a fatal dose of a drug she thought was cocaine that turned out to be laced with fentanyl. The woman was 36-year-old Tabbetha D. Perez, who had a mandatory six years added to the two-year prison term she was already serving for an unrelated drug trafficking conviction by Judge Michael Ernest. 

“That’s the definite term, and then there is an indefinite term on that as well. That could be for an additional three years.”

Perez’s brother was 40-year-old Jesse Mencer, who died on April 18th, 2021. She took the same drug and overdosed alongside him in an apartment. Assistant County Prosecutor Bob Urban says their mother found the two of them unconscious and called first responders, who were able to revive Perez with several doses of Narcan but couldn’t save Mencer.

“Part of this tale is when you are a user of street drugs you never really know what you’re getting, and it turned out to be fatal in this case.”

The mother spoke during the hearing. 

“I just pray that she did learn from this, and that when she gets out I told her I would like her to become an advocate against drugs.”

So did Perez…

“I lost my best friend. I lost my brother, and I feel that every day, every day.. Not a day goes by that I don’t remember that, and I am truly sorry for everything that has happened. It was never my intention.”

Urban says Perez fled to Nevada while the case was pending and that the sheriff’s office spent more than $2,500 to send someone there to retrieve her. Judge Elizabeth Thomakos ordered her to reimburse the sheriff’s office as part of her sentence for the trafficking conviction. 

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