A teenage drug dealer in California was charged with murder Tuesday after selling fentanyl to a 12-year-old girl who fatally overdosed.
The suspect, whose name was not released because he is 16-years-old, sold the victim the powerful opioid in 2020, Santa Clara prosecutors said in a press release. She died after ingesting a portion of a single pill, officials said.
The girl had allegedly asked the suspect for an “M-30” pill, an oxycodone pain reliever that is far less powerful than fentanyl. She then crushed the pill and snorted some of it as her friends recorded a video, before passing out and snoring — “a telltale sign” of a fentanyl overdose, officials said. She was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later.
“After thousands of deaths, everyone should know that fentanyl is a deadly poison,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. “Thanks to the San Jose Police Department, the Santa Clara County Specialized Enforcement Team, and our investigators, this child’s tragically short life may help save others.”
Tuesday’s arrest marked the second time Santa Clara prosecutors charged a teenage drug dealer with murder after their customer fatally overdosed, officials said.
Fentanyl is up to 100 times more deadly than morphine and is sometimes pressed into bootleg prescription pills that are designed to look like oxycodone or Xanax for sale on the black market.
“In Santa Clara County, fentanyl is especially prevalent in fake generic pills, with such street names as ‘M-30s,’ ‘M-box-30s,’ ‘pressed blues,’ ‘blues,’ and ‘Oxy,’” officials explained.
A drug dealer who pleaded guilty in connection to rapper Mac Miller’s fatal 2018 fentanyl overdose said he was unknowingly hawking fake name-brand drugs laced with the super-powerful narcotic.
“I was charged with selling blue pills, little blue counterfeit oxycontin pills … and I didn’t know what was in them,” Stephen Andrew Walter said to a Los Angeles judge in November. “I didn’t know, like, fentanyl was in it. But I do say, yes, that I aided and abetted the transaction.”
Ingesting just 0.002 grams of the drug results in “certain death,” according to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics.
Fentanyl was a factor in more than half of US drug overdoses. It killed some 42,700 people in 2020, the agency said.