Edden Bell of Phoenix gets prison in marijuana case

PHOENIX - It is a case with no winners. 

On one side are two families feeling cheated from the justice system in the drug deaths of their two sons. 

On the other, a convicted drug dealer Edden Bell who will serve a 2.5 year prison sentence for marijuana charges that typically would only bring probation.  

In the middle is County Attorney Bill Montgomery who wants to see 20-year-old Bell pay in some way, but is now being slammed by both families for his rush to get a conviction.

"The county attorney has done an incredible disservice," were the first words from Lisa Wilcoxson after Bell's sentencing.

Wilcoxson's son Anthony Carlson was the second teen to die in four months from synthetic drugs allegedly supplied by Bell.

The first was 18-year-old Noah Carrasco. In January of 2013, Bell allegedly gave Carrasco a synthetic drug known as 25I-NBOMe or bath salts. Witnesses told police Carrasco froze and then began to flail.

According to a police report, Bell called a friend to pick him up and never called 911.

"Bell transported Noah's body into another car and told friends to drive him around until he came to. Noah was already dead and Edden knew it," cried Lisa.

Families say it wasn't until a second autopsy that Carrasco's death was listed as acute 25I-NBOMe poisoning.

By that time, Bell had allegedly supplied Carlson with the same type of drug. Carlson also had a bad reaction. Friends took him to a nearby hospital where he died the next day.

Bell was never charged with the two deaths because investigators couldn't find enough evidence against him.

"The substance that was involved wasn't illegal under Arizona law. There were no charges related to homicide that could be submitted," said Montgomery.

Montgomery said Scottsdale police investigators wrangled to find something that would hold Bell accountable including pursuing whether federal charges could be filed.

But they didn't find a federal agency willing to take the case.

"I would've gladly unraveled everything that we had done and handed it over in a bow. But it wasn't anything they could work with either," explained Montgomery.

By the time Carlson had died in April of 2013, legislation had passed making 25I-NBOMe illegal. But the substance couldn't be found in Carlson's toxicology tests.

Carlson's family told reporters there wasn't enough blood given to the lab to confirm the presence of 25I-NBOMe.

"They used most of his blood trying to save his life when he finally got to the hospital," said Rick Wilcoxson, Anthony's father.

In a usual plea agreement, where no prison sentence would normally be imposed, Bell agreed to plead guilty to marijuana charges in exchange that murder charges could never be brought against him.

But the price for his "guilty plea" was too high for both Carlson and Carrasco's families.

"They're predicting somehow that they'll never be able to prosecute. I don't know how they can determine never. Is he (Montgomery) a psychic?!" asked Rick.

"I'm disappointed the judge upheld the plea agreement," added Susan Wadsworth, Noah's mother.

Outraged, both families said they've been cheated by the justice system calling Bell's harsh marijuana sentence a joke.

"That's absurd! His two-and-a-half year sentence is harsh? How about death? They're dead forever. We wake up every morning knowing that our son is dead," said Wilcoxson.

"The justice system has failed us at every stage of the process," agreed Wadsworth.

Wadsworth said she will not let the deaths of their two sons be in vain. 

She plans to take to take her fight into the schools by talking to teens and parents about the dangers of synthetic drugs.

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