Drug Dealer Who Gave Deadly Fentanyl Pills to Mac Miller Pleads Guilty
On Monday, October 25, drug dealer Stephen Andrew Walter pled guilty to fentanyl distribution charges related to the accidental overdose death of Grammy-nominated rapper Mac Miller.
Miller’s death came towards the end of a challenging year for him. Shortly after ending his two-year relationship with pop star Ariana Grande, he was charged with driving under the influence after a hit and run.
Mac Miller, whose real name was Malcolm James Mccormick, had been very open in the past in his lyrics and interviews about his struggles with drug abuse and mental health.
After his death, his album, Swimming, released the same year, was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Album. Mac Miller’s estate released his last album, Circles, which he was working on before his death, in January 2020.
On September 7, 2018, Miller’s assistant found him unresponsive in his Studio City home in Los Angeles. He was later pronounced dead on the scene.
The coroner ruled rapper Mac Miller died, at the age of 26, of an accidental overdose. The autopsy revealed a mix of fentanyl, cocaine, and alcohol in Miller’s system. Prosecutors said, “Miller would not have died from an overdose but for the fentanyl in the pills.”
Walter, a 46-year-old Los Angeles man, accepted a guilty plea deal to avoid more severe charges for conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. He is facing 17 years in prison with five years of supervised release. Walter was already under supervised release related to other drug charges.
Two other men, Ryan Michael Reavis and Cameron James Pettit, face charges related to the Mac Miller overdose. According to the plea deal, Walter “knowing and intentionally instructed Ryan Michael Reavis to distribute fentanyl in the form of counterfeit oxycodone pills.”
According to Reuters, court documents stated that Miller had asked Pettit for 10 “blues,” slang for oxycodone pills, along with Xanax and cocaine on September 4, 2018.
Reavis then gave the drugs to dealer Cameron James Pettit, who gave the pills containing fentanyl to Miller. Reavis and Pettit have both pleaded not guilty and will face trial on March 1, 2022.
Mac Miller’s overdose is one of the latest high-profile celebrity deaths involving fentanyl, including Prince, Tom Petty, and Lil Peep, and highlights the growing increase in accidental overdose deaths.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff Department stresses the need for education regarding the dangers of all prescription drugs and illicit drugs, not just fentanyl, as the best way to combat the rise in drug overdoses and death. They also stress the importance of having Narcan available in case of emergency overdoses.
Prescription fentanyl is a tightly controlled substance and used to treat severe pain. However, The Center for Disease Control (CDC) attributes the rise in fentanyl-related addiction, overdoses, and deaths to illegally made fentanyl.
Fentanyl is popular with drug dealers who cut their drugs because it is cheap, potent, and addictive. It is also incredibly lethal, as fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.
In September of 2021, the Department of Justice announced the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)’s public safety warning regarding the flood of fentanyl and fentanyl-laced pills resulting in deaths.
The DEA seized 1.8 million fentanyl-laced fake pills in just two months and arrested 810 people connected to the distribution networks flooding the nation.
According to a statement by DEA administrator Anne Milgram, “Criminal drug networks are selling these pills through social media, e-commerce, the dark web and existing distribution networks. As a result, these fake pills are widely available.”
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