Ashley Malloy was living at the apartment house, left, at 26 Oak St. in Oakland, shown here in November 2021, when her 14-month-old son, Karson, died after being exposed to opioids. Malloy, now 22, pleaded guilty Wednesday to several charges at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file

AUGUSTA — An Oakland woman whose 14-month-old son died after being exposed to opioids has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and drug trafficking charges.

A state prosecutor said Karson Malloy, son of Ashley Malloy, 22, had a mix of fentanyl, tramadol and a cutting agent in his system. There was enough fentanyl to kill upwards of four adult users, according to the state’s chief medical examiner.

Malloy pleaded guilty Wednesday to manslaughter, a class A offense punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $50,000 fine, and three counts of unlawful trafficking in schedule W drugs, class B offenses, at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta.

She is expected to be sentenced in the next few months.

Malloy had initially pleaded not guilty in the case.

Katie Sibley, an assistant attorney general, described an Oak Street apartment in Oakland where Malloy and her son lived. Acting on a search warrant, police found pounds of illegal drugs in multiple locations, including within a blanket on a bed where Malloy put her son down for a nap the morning of Nov. 2, 2021 and later found him unresponsive.


Sibley said police, whom Malloy had let into her apartment, saw Malloy pulling a sheet and blanket from her bedroom with white powder spread all over them. The powder tested positive for a mixture of the opioids fentanyl and tramadol and a cutting agent Sibley said was commonly used with fentanyl.

Emergency medical workers were unable to resuscitate the toddler, who was pronounced dead at Northern Light Inland Hospital in Waterville.

Sibley said police investigated following the protocol required in an incident involving the sudden and unexpected death of a child younger than 3. She said detectives initially thought they were investigating a tragic medical situation.

Then, police officers, acting on a search warrant, found a digital scale with residue of cocaine and a mixture of fentanyl and tramadol — and Malloy’s DNA — on it.

Sibley said that during the search, officers found a suitcase containing several rounds of ammunition and 16 bags containing suspected illegal drugs (a total of more than 3 pounds), which was later found to include cocaine, fentanyl and tramadol.

In Malloy’s bedroom, police reportedly found a machine for counting money and small plastic bags. Two locked boxes were found to contain cocaine, methamphetamine and more of the fentanyl, tramadol and cutting agent mixture.


Police found more than 5 pounds of fentanyl, more than a pound of crack cocaine, methamphetamine and about $2,200 in cash, police said at the time. The street value of the drugs was estimated at $700,000.

Sibley said the evidence that officers found indicated a large-scale drug trafficking operation.

Malloy’s lawyer, John Pelletier, said his client was not an active participant in drug trafficking. Instead, he said she was only an accomplice to others charged with drug trafficking.

Pelletier said Malloy was pleading guilty because she failed to perceive the risk to Karson, which constituted criminal negligence.

Pelletier had filed a motion to suppress evidence in the case, which was the subject of a court hearing in early August. He said Wednesday the motion to suppress evidence had been withdrawn and that “we’ve decided to go in a different direction” with Malloy’s change in plea.

Malloy remains out on $5,000 bail, pending her sentencing. She and Pelletier left the courtroom promptly after the hearing ended. Pelletier has said previously that Malloy loved Karson very much and was extremely distraught about his loss.


Sibley said Mark Flomenbaum, chief medical examiner for the state, ruled the death a homicide. He determined Karson’s cause of death was complications of a bowel obstruction that was due to the combined effect of fentanyl and tramadol, which lead to rapid and immediate respiratory failure and cardiac arrest that was irreversible.

Sibley said Malloy acted recklessly by exposing Karson to drugs that caused his death.

Malloy agreed to forfeit $2,262 that police seized from her apartment, which they alleged was related to drug transactions.

Two men have been charged in connection with alleged drug trafficking tied to the case, a spokesperson for the Office of the Maine Attorney General said.

Domingos Carbral, 34, of Skowhegan was indicted on two counts of aggravated trafficking in schedule W drugs, and Joshua Cyr, 33, of Turner was indicted on one count of aggravated trafficking in schedule W drugs.

Both cases are pending in court.

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