Polk County Sheriff’s Homicide detectives arrested 23-year-old Daniel Aleman (DOB 8/5/86) of 4647 Fox Creek Drive West in Mulberry today after investigation revealed he provided a lethal dose of morphine to a friend of his, 23-year-old Michael Edwin Berg, back in September 2009. The toxicology results were recently returned to the Medical Examiner’s Office, which revealed that Berg died as a result of excessive levels of morphine in his system.
The investigation began in September 2009. According to the affidavit, on September 4, 2009, Berg, Aleman, and other friends were partying at various houses and at one point went to the Twilight Zone on SR 60 in Plant City. At the club, Daniel Aleman obtained a bottle of morphine from an unknown person. When the men continued the party at a friend’s house in Mulberry later that evening, Aleman produced the morphine and they all drank from it. According to witnesses, Berg poured approximately one ounce of morphine into a shot glass and drank it, then fell asleep on the couch around 3:00 a.m.
Berg woke up around 11:00 a.m. on September 5, 2009, and told others in the house to quiet down because he was trying to sleep. He then fell back asleep. When Berg’s friends tried to wake him up around 4:30 p.m. that afternoon, he was unresponsive. He was declared deceased later that day.
According to the autopsy, there was no trauma to his body, and no foul play was suspected in Berg’s death at that time. For this reason, and because Berg was young, a known drug user, and was in fact under a court order to discontinue using drugs, the Medical Examiner submitted Berg’s blood and urine for a toxicology exam. The toxicology results were returned in March 2010, and showed Berg had an excessive level of morphine in his system, which caused his death. Berg’s cause of death was ruled Morphine intoxication. PCSO detectives continued their investigation, and interviewed all witnesses again. Daniel Aleman then admitted to detectives that he obtained morphine at the club on September 5th and provided it to Michael Berg that night. He also admitted that he subsequently destroyed the bottle that contained the Morphine.
On March 16, 2010, PCSO detectives obtained a warrant for Daniel Aleman’s arrest charging him with one count Third Degree Murder (F-2) and one count Delivery of Morphine, a Controlled Substance (F-2). Aleman was placed under arrest on Wednesday, March 17, 2010, and was booked into the Polk County Jail.
“When someone dies of a drug overdose, we can and we will charge the person who provided the illegal drug that caused the person’s tragic death,” said Sheriff Grady Judd. “It may not be pre-meditated murder, but it is murder nonetheless.”