On February 6, a Carrollton couple was federally charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl. The police investigation allegedly linked them to ten overdoses, of which three were fatal, that occurred between September 2022 and February 2023.
According to the criminal complaint that led to the charges, Luis Eduardo Navarrete, 21, and Magaly Mejia Cano, 29 allegedly dealt “M30s,” a type of fake Percocet and Oxycontin pills laced with fentanyl. As reported by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Texas, the pills were sold to juvenile drug dealers and students from RL Turner High School who distributed them to schoolmates and younger students at Dewitt Perry and Dan F. Long Middle Schools.
Authorities are investigating the possible link between Mejia Cano and Navarrete and ten overdoses suffered by nine students, ages ranging from 13 to 17. While three overdoses were fatal, one 14-year-old student overdosed twice and suffered temporary paralysis. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office announcement, the victim told law enforcement the pills she ingested came from juvenile drug dealers who allegedly bought them from Navarrete.
“Selling drugs alone is a serious transgression, but to sell deadly fentanyl to a juvenile is one of the most shocking and callous ways to hurt a community,” said Eduardo A. Chavez, special agent in charge of the DEA Dallas Field Division in an official statement. “DEA Dallas and our partners from the Carrollton Police Department will work to identify and hold accountable every individual who thinks they can profit by exposing our neighborhoods, and our children, to this deadly substance.”
As previously reported by Local Profile, the Dallas Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration seized more than 1 million pills laced with potentially deadly doses of fentanyl in addition to 7,000 pounds of methamphetamine in 2022. In 2022 in Plano alone, 10 deaths related to drug overdoses were linked to fentanyl and heroin use by September.
In Mejia Cano and Navarrete’s case, Carrollton Police Department conducted surveillance at Navarrete’s home where, on January 12, 2023, they observed an alleged transaction between him and a 16-year-old dealer.
“I am very appreciative of our partnerships with all federal agencies,” said Carrollton Police Chief Roberto Arredondo. “I am proud of the Carrollton Police Department’s work in providing the necessary evidence to the DEA.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nationwide fentanyl is killing more people than almost any other drug. In 2021, 71,238 fentanyl-caused deaths were reported compared to 57,834 in 2020. But many deaths from drug overdose go unreported making the numbers fewer than they actually are.