A 15-year-old boy who attends Academic Performance Excellence Academy, which is on the same property as Bernstein High School, was taken into custody Thursday morning, NewsNation affiliate KTLA reported. He faces several charges, including manslaughter.
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said the boy sold pills purported to be Percocet that were laced with fentanyl, according to KTLA. Melanie Ramos, 15, was among those who bought the pills at Bernstein High School and later ended up dead.
“It’s common practice today in the illicit pill market to use fentanyl to spike or enhance a drug,” Moore said at a news conference Thursday. “Typically and frequently, these result in overdoses because of the overabundance of fentanyl and the powerful nature of it.”
Police believe Ramos and other girls crushed up the pills and snorted them in a bathroom before losing consciousness.
The second suspect, a 16-year-old boy who also attends Academic Performance Excellence Academy, is accused of selling drugs at a nearby park, where police said other students overdosed on the same pills.
Three other students remained hospitalized Thursday.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overdose deaths linked to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl claim about 150 lives a day.
NewsNation affiliate KTLA contributed to this report.