LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Three accused drug dealers who prosecutors say supplied rapper Mac Miller with the counterfeit oxycodone laced with fentanyl blamed in his fatal 2018 overdose were indicted on federal drug distribution charges on Wednesday.
Investigators say Miller, 26, born Malcolm James McCormick, died at his home in the Los Angeles neighbourhood of Studio City after crushing and snorting the pills. An autopsy found he had suffered an accidental overdose of fentanyl, cocaine and alcohol.
“It has become increasingly common for us to see drug dealers peddling counterfeit pharmaceuticals made with fentanyl. As a consequence, fentanyl is now the No. 1 cause of overdose deaths in the United States,” U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said in announcing the federal grand jury indictment.
“These defendants allegedly continued to sell narcotics after Mr. McCormick’s death with full knowledge of the risks their products posed to human life,” Hanna said.
Cameron James Pettit, 28, Stephen Andrew Walter, 46, and Ryan Michael Reavis, 36, had each already been arrested separately on drug charges over the past month and are being held in federal custody.
The indictment, handed down by a U.S. District Court grand jury in Los Angeles, accused them of conspiring to distribute the fentanyl-laced pills. Walter is also charged with being a felon in possession of ammunition.
Walter’s lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment. It was unclear who was representing the other two defendants.
According to court documents, Miller asked Pettit for 10 “blues” - shorthand for oxycodone - as well as Xanax and cocaine, on the night of Sept. 4, 2018.
But prosecutors say the pills that Pettit gave him were counterfeit, containing fentanyl, a cheap, relatively easy-to-synthesize opioid painkiller 50 times more potent than heroin. Walter is accused of supplying the pills to Pettit, using Reavis as a courier.
Miller was found unresponsive at his home on Sept. 7 and pronounced dead at the scene.
Pettit and Walter were scheduled for a post-indictment arraignment on Oct. 10. Reavis, who was taken into custody at his home in Lake Havasu, Arizona, will be sent to Southern California for further proceedings, prosecutors say.
The Pittsburgh-born Miller won a following as a teenager and topped the Billboard album charts with his 2011 debut album, “Blue Slide Park.” He was posthumously nominated for a Grammy for his final album, “Swimming.”
Miller dated pop star Ariana Grande for two years before they split in May 2018 and she sings affectionately about him on her hit single “thank u, next,” using his given name, Malcolm.
Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Richard Chang and Peter Cooney