Two teenagers have been arrested in connection with several fentanyl overdoses, including one death among students at Hollywood area high schools, the Los Angeles Police Department announced at a press conference Thursday.
A 15-year-old boy faces manslaughter and other charges for allegedly selling a pill to two 15-year-old girls who overdosed on Tuesday, one fatally, on the campus of Bernstein High School. The boy, who was taken into custody Thursday evening, attends Academic Performance Excellence Academy on the same property as Bernstein High, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said.
As KTLA reports, the girls apparently crushed and snorted a pill they believed to be Percocet in a school restroom, where they lost consciousness. One of the girls came to several hours later, left the bathroom, and was found in the Bernstein courtyard by her father, who had been looking for her. The other girl was pronounced dead at the scene by fire department paramedics. The Los Angeles County Coroner’s office has identified her as Melanie Ramos.
A 16-year-old boy who also attends the Academic Performance Excellence Academy was arrested for allegedly selling narcotics to a third student at nearby Lexington Park, where investigators say other students have overdosed on the same pills.
Three students remained hospitalized on Thursday.
The names of both suspects are being withheld by authorities due to their ages.
“These are people who have been poisoned. These are murders,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said, adding that the kids who allegedly sold the drugs to their peers are hardly the root of the problem. “We are not just interested in the final distributors of the pills that peddled this death. We want to go up that chain.”
The LAPD says it will continue to go after fentanyl.
“Our investigation has not stopped here,” Moore said. “It’s common practice today in the illicit pill market to use fentanyl to spike or enhance a drug. Typically and frequently, these result in overdoses because of the overabundance of fentanyl and the powerful nature of it.”
A GoFundMe campaign has been established for the Ramos family.
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