SW Washington Man Linked to Overdose Case Now Faces Federal Drug Charges


A Vancouver man who was facing Clark County charges in connection with a man's May 2021 overdose death is now facing a federal drug distribution charge.

Joseph A. Cannarozzi, 39, was charged last month in U.S. District Court in Tacoma with possession of controlled substances with intent to deliver.

On Thursday, Cannarozzi's case in Clark County Superior Court was dismissed because of the filing of the federal charges, court records show.

Clark County sheriff's deputies responded May 5, 2021, to a death investigation in east Clark County. Detectives determined the man appeared to have died from taking a counterfeit oxycodone pill that likely contained fentanyl, the sheriff's office said in a news release.

Toxicology results showed the pills found with the man contained fentanyl, according to the federal complaint.

Investigators found text messages on the man's phone to a number linked to Cannarozzi about buying $900 worth of drugs five days before his death, the complaint states.

While detectives with the Clark-Vancouver Regional Drug Task Force were surveilling Cannarozzi's house, 8313 N.E. 158th Ave., they observed at least 18 vehicles arrive. Investigators said they believe the occupants went inside the house to buy drugs from Cannarozzi, the complaint states.

U.S. Postal Service inspectors found Cannarozzi's computer IP address had been used to track hundreds of packages shipped to and from his Vancouver address, sometimes under false names. When investigators seized some of the packages with Cannarozzi's address on them, they found suspected anabolic steroids, nearly $10,000 in cash, pharmaceutical drugs and antibiotics, court records state.

Following a five-month investigation, authorities searched Cannarozzi's house and found six firearms; $32,000 in cash; about 11,000 counterfeit oxycodone pills they said likely contained fentanyl, worth an estimated $110,000; steroids and other pills packaged for distribution, worth an estimated $35,000; 98 fictitious identification cards; numerous packages with Cannarozzi's address or aliases; and cryptocurrency documentation, according to the complaint.

Investigators said Cannarozzi told them he operated a business, which they found sold injectable and oral steroids. The website showed customers could buy the product online using cryptocurrency. Investigators found packages with the business's logo on them in Cannarozzi's house, the complaint states.

Cannarozzi also allegedly admitted to authorities he was friends with the man who died and that they communicated by text message, according to the complaint.

When officers searched Cannarozzi's bank account, they found that between May 2017 and October 2021 Cannarozzi deposited more than $1.1 million from Venmo and various cryptocurrencies, the complaint states.

Melissa Salsedo, 44, of Vancouver, was also arrested in October in connection with the drug distribution scheme and is scheduled to change her plea Friday in Clark County Superior Court.