HUDSON — A former Hudson man accused of acquiring the heroin that led to a Baldwin man’s fatal overdose was charged last month with reckless homicide.
St. Croix County prosecutors charged 21-year-old Alex James Ward with one count of first-degree reckless homicide and one count of conspiracy to deliver heroin. He made his first court appearance Nov. 27, where St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Edward Vlack set cash bail at $10,000.
According to a criminal complaint:
Police responded Sept. 3 to a 10th Avenue home in Baldwin, where 21-year-old Christian Cross Wagner was found dead. The responding officer found a needle and other drug paraphernalia in Cross’ bed.
The Ramsey County medical examiner later ruled Cross’ death to be a heroin overdose.
St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office investigators seized electronic devices from the home and interviewed a man who said he had traveled to St. Paul with Cross, Ward and two others. With Ward’s cellphone providing directions to the location, they met with a man wearing dreadlocks who sold Ward a bag of heroin, according to that witness.
Investigators interviewed Ward, who said the seller was different than who he’d used in the past. He told officers “someone else in the car” had set up the drug deal.
Investigators in October interviewed a St. Croix County jail inmate who had been on the same cell block as Ward following his arrest. That man said Ward told him “he got the bag for the other guys and he was being the middle man,” the complaint states.
A search of Wagner’s phone turned up messages between him and Ward between Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 that made reference to drug interactions. Facebook messages between the two men between Aug. 31 and Sept. 3 also refer to drug use, drug amounts, prices and “general locations where the drugs were going to be picked up,” the charging document states.
Ward’s criminal history includes two 2017 convictions for methamphetamine possession, for which he received a deferred judgment. He was sentenced Oct. 31, 2019, to one year in prison and two years on extended supervision on a revocation for the offense.
The reckless homicide charge carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and a $100,000 fine; the maximum penalty for the heroin charge calls for more than 12 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.