(NewsNation) — A Texas couple was charged for allegedly dealing pills laced with fentanyl to minors, several of whom overdosed and died.
Luis Eduardo Navarrete, 21, and Magalay Majia Cano, 29, were charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, the U.S. Department of Justice said.
The couple allegedly sold fake Percocet and OxyContin pills, commonly known as “M30s,” to high school drug dealers, laced with fentanyl out of their home in Carrolton, Texas — which is a suburb of Dallas. They were sold at R.L. Turner High School and Dewitt Perry and Dan F. Long Middle Schools students as young as 13, officials said.
During the six-month period between September 2022 and February 2023, 10 juvenile overdoses were reported, the Justice Department said. Three of the minors, the youngest of whom was 13, died as a result of the pills.
According to court documents, Navarrete sold pills directly to students, and law enforcement actually saw him hand pills to a student drug dealer on Jan. 12. The student admitted that he got the pills he was caught snorting in the high school bathroom from Navarrete.
A 14-year-old student who reportedly overdosed twice and was temporarily paralyzed by an overdose told officials she was “familiar with Luis Navarrete” and had previously purchased multiple “M30” pills from him. Law enforcement officials went on to find “M30” pills at the student’s house, court documents state.
“To deal fentanyl is to knowingly imperil lives. To deal fentanyl to minors – naive middle and high school students – is to shatter futures. 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,” said U.S. Attorney Leigha Simonton.
Authorities said this is not unique to this town and they are sharing this story to help save the lives of other young people.
“One pill could be totally fine, feel nothing, the next one could kill your best friend,” said Nik Stefano, a student recourse officer in Carrollton. “This is in any and every neighborhood.”
Eduardo Chavez, a Dallas Field Division Drug Enforcement Administration special agent in charge, said the danger of fentanyl keeps him up at night. He said he’s spoken to too many grieving parents.
“It is easily one of the most deadly threats with regard to illicit drugs that I have seen in my entire career,” Chavez said.
“You put it in the market where the substance of the pills is so ridiculously addictive and so ridiculously deadly. Layer that with some profit where you can maybe buy some pills for less than $10 and sell for three times as much. It is a perfect storm when it comes to being able to lure or attract young people.”
Officials urge parents and guardians to talk to their kids, monitor their social media and warn them as much as they can before it’s too late.
“Have the conversations they are going to be tough there might be yelling you might discover things you don’t want to discover but it might save your kiddos’ life,” Stefano said.
The Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District is working to bring awareness to the dangers of fentanyl. really hard on awareness. It had several meetings with parents and students as recently as Monday.
Navarrete and Cano could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.