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Grimsby woman faces trafficking charges in overdose investigation

Police were investigating the death of a 27-year-old woman who died last November as a result of a drug overdose
Niagara Regional Police Service file photo

On Nov. 26, 2022, members of the Niagara Regional Police Seroverdfose investigation vice 8 District (Grimsby/Lincoln/West Lincoln) Uniform Patrol and Criminal Investigation Branch responded to an incident in which a 27-year-old female was found deceased in the family home. The cause of death appeared to be the result of a drug overdose.

The Niagara Regional Police Opioid Enforcement Unit took carriage of the investigation.

The death was investigated alongside the Niagara Regional Police 8 District Criminal Investigation Branch and the Homicide Unit. 

The woman's death was attributed to protonitazene toxicity. Protonitazene is a synthetic opioid significantly stronger than fentanyl.

On April 17, 27-year-old Sophie Ward of Grimsby was arrested for the following offences:

  • Trafficking in a Schedule I substance held out to be Oxycontin contrary to section 5(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
  • Manslaughter, contrary to section 236(b) of the Criminal Code

Ward is currently being held in custody pending a bail hearing on Tuesday, April 18 at the Robert S.K. Welch courthouse in the City of St. Catharines.

The OEEU is funded by the Ontario Government’s Community and Safety Policing Grant. The OEEU is a Niagara Regional Police Service initiative focused on education regarding the risk associated with illicit opioid use, while incorporating enforcement to address opioid-related issues within our community.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact detectives by calling 905-688-4111, option 3, ext. 1009476.

Members of the public who wish to provide information anonymously can contact Crime Stoppers of Niagara online or by calling 1-800-222-TIPS(8477).