3 indicted in overdose death of rapper Mac Miller
LOS ANGELES — Three men were named Wednesday in a Los Angeles federal grand jury indictment that alleges they distributed narcotics, including counterfeit pharmaceutical pills containing fentanyl, that resulted in the overdose death of hip-hop artist Mac Miller.
Cameron James Pettit, 28, of West Hollywood; Stephen Andrew Walter, 46, of Westwood; and Ryan Michael Reavis, 36, a former West Los Angeles resident who relocated to Lake Havasu, Arizona, earlier this year, are charged with conspiring to distribute controlled substances resulting in death and distribution of fentanyl resulting in death.
Each of those counts carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in federal prison and a potential sentence of life without parole, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Walter alone is additonally charged with being a felon in possession of ammunition, which, if he were to be convicted, would result in a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison.
Court documents allege the three defendants distributed narcotics to 26-year-old Malcolm James McCormick — who recorded and performed under the name Mac Miller — two days before the entertainer suffered a fatal drug overdose in Studio City on Sept. 7, 2018.
The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner later determined that Miller died of mixed drug toxicity involving fentanyl, cocaine and alcohol.
According to the indictment, late on the night of Sept. 4, Pettit agreed to supply the rapper with 10 “blues” — a street term for oxycodone pills — as well as cocaine and the sedative Xanax. But instead of providing Miller with genuine oxycodone when he made the delivery during the early morning hours of Sept. 5, Pettit provided counterfeit oxycodone pills that contained fentanyl — a powerful synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin, according to the indictment.
The indictment alleges that Pettit ordered the fentanyl-laced pills from Walter, and then Reavis delivered the narcotics to Pettit.
Investigators believe that Miller died after snorting the counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl allegedly provided by Pettit. While another individual supplied Miller with other drugs prior to his death, those narcotics did not contain fentanyl, prosecutors said.
Less than one month after Miller’s death, Walter agreed to sell Pettit another 10 blues, according to the indictment, which also alleges other drug deals between the two men, with one as recent as Aug. 30.
The indictment further alleges that Reavis was involved in drug trafficking activities in June and quotes a text message he sent after realizing he was negotiating a narcotics transaction with an unknown person that reads, in part: “People have been dying from fake blues left and right, you better believe law enforcement is using informants and undercover to buy them on the street … they can start putting (people) in prison for life for selling fake pills.”
U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said it has become “increasingly common for us to see drug dealers peddling counterfeit pharmaceuticals made with fentanyl. As a consequence, fentanyl is now the number one cause of overdose deaths in the United States.”
Hanna alleged that the three defendants continued to sell narcotics after Miller’s death, “with full knowledge of the risks their products posed to human life.”
Special Agent in Charge William D. Bodner of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Los Angeles Field Division warned that counterfeit pharmaceutical pills are especially dangerous because users are unable to verify what they are ingesting.
“The tragic death of Mac Miller is a high-profile example of the tragedy that is occurring on the streets of America every day,” Bodner said, adding that the indictment “highlights the efforts of DEA agents, local law enforcement officers, and prosecutors who work tirelessly to bring dangerous drug dealers to justice.”
Pettit, who was previously ordered detained after being charged in a criminal complaint with distributing narcotics to McCormick, is scheduled to be arraigned in downtown Los Angeles on the indictment on Oct. 10.
Walter was arrested on Sept. 23 on a criminal complaint alleging conspiracy to distribution narcotics, and he was also ordered held without bond. Walter also is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment Oct. 10.
Reavis, who was taken into federal custody in Arizona on Sept. 26 on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm, is currently in custody and is being transported to Los Angeles by the U.S. Marshals Service.