A man charged with improperly disposing of a corpse claims he chopped up his friend's body, stuffed the parts in a metal drum and rolled it into a river in a panic after the friend died of a drug overdose, police said.

The drum, with the body parts inside, was found floating in the Pequonnock River in Bridgeport last week.

Felix Rivera, 23, was charged Tuesday with improper disposal of a dead body after he told police his story of what happened to Charles Gerber, police Lt. James Viadero said.

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Police said Rivera told them he and Gerber had been celebrating their release from jail following arrests on assault and weapons-related charges. Gerber, 34, had taken pills, drunk alcohol and smoked the hallucinogen PCP on July 17 before Rivera discovered he had stopped breathing, according to police.

Rivera told police he became "paranoid" and decided to hide the body in a metal drum. When the 5-foot-9, 180-pound body didn't fit, he used an ax to cut off the head, hands and feet, police said.

Police said Rivera then put the drum full of body parts in his car, drove to a boat ramp and rolled it in. Rivera was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

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