Federal authorities are accusing two people of being linked to a series of fentanyl overdoses, including three deaths in Texas.
Luis Navarrete, 21, and Magaly Mejia Cano, 29, are facing conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance charges.
Authorities alleged Navarrete and Mejia Cano distributed fake Percocet and Oxycontin pills laced with fentanyl, or “M30s,” to several R.L. Turner High School students, who then sold the drugs to fellow high school and middle school students.
“On multiple occasions, law enforcement members have observed Navarrete and Mejia Cano conduct hand-to-hand transactions with multiple individuals who sometimes arrive on foot and in vehicles,” according to the criminal complaint obtained by PEOPLE. “Many of the hand-to-hand transactions were with juvenile students of R.L. Turner High School.”
Authorities alleged Navarrete and Mejia Cano were operating out of a home located between R.L. Turner High School and a local middle school.
Nine students between the ages of 13 and 17 have overdosed since September 2022. One of the students — a 14-year-old girl — overdosed twice. Three of the students died.
Law enforcement witnessed a transaction at Navarrete’s Carrollton home on Jan. 12, 2023 and followed a 16-year-old student to the bathroom at R.L. Turner School and heard the teen “making a ‘snorting sound’ in a bathroom stall,” the complaint states.
“[The student] appeared to be intoxicated and was in possession of a razor blade and ‘snort straw’ with residue,” the complaint states. “[The student] admitted the paraphernalia was used to ingest a ‘perc pill.’ “
He later allegedly told authorities that he obtained the drugs from Navarrete.
The investigation began in January when authorities started looking into the troubling high number of teen overdoses.
“To deal fentanyl is to knowingly imperil lives. To deal fentanyl to minors — naive middle and high school students — is to shatter futures,” said U.S. Attorney Leigha Simonton. “These defendants’ alleged actions are simply despicable. We can never replace the three teenagers whose lives were lost, nor can we heal the psychological scars of those who survived their overdoses. But we can take action to ensure these defendants are never allowed to hand a pill to a child again.”
Navarrete and Mejia Cano were arrested at Navarrete’s home on Friday. Navarrete waived his right to a detention hearing and is being held pending trial. Mejia Cano has a detention hearing later this week.
They have yet to enter pleas.