Los Angeles police on Thursday arrested two teenagers in connection with the death of a 15-year-old girl who overdosed in a bathroom at her school after purchasing pills possibly mixed withon campus, officials said. Authorities are looking for the distributors who supplied the boys with the pills, and the town’s mayor declared, “This was not an overdose. This was murder.”
Police served a search warrant at around 8:30 am as part of an investigation into the overdose death of a girl a day earlier at Bernstein High School in Hollywood, Police Chief Michel Moore said.
A 15-year-old boy who lives with his grandmother was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter, Moore said. Investigators believe he sold pills advertised as Percocet to two 15-year-old friends around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, who later crushed and snorted the narcotics in the school bathroom.
The Los Angeles County coroner identified the student who died as Melanie Ramos, 15. Her unnamed friend who also overdosed remained hospitalized and is expected to recover.
Ramos’ aunt said high school sophomores had dreams of joining the Army, reports CBS Los Angeles.
“Stop poisoning our children,” Ramos’ aunt said. “This has to stop. It can happen to anyone. Unfortunately, it happened to our family.”
“Think of Melanie before you take anything,” said another of her aunts. “Don’t take anything you shouldn’t.”
Moore said police also arrested a 16-year-old boy on suspicion of selling fentanyl pills to two other high school students who overdosed after buying the drugs in nearby Lexington Park. He could face narcotics-related charges, the boss said.
Police will work with the US Drug Enforcement Administration to find the distributors who supplied the 15- and 16-year-olds with the pills, Moore said.
“There’s a drug organization behind this,” he said.
The teenage suspects knew each other and both attend Apex Academy, an independent school that shares a campus with Bernstein.
Dealers using common painkillers with fentanyl are an increasingly common practice, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told a news conference.
“These are people who were poisoned,” Garcetti said. “One pill can kill.”
Garcetti took to Twitter after the press conference, where he made a solemn announcement.
“Listen to this: if you sell death to our children, we’ll come after you.” the tweet said, followed by a second tweet that read, “This was not an overdose. This was murder. And my heart breaks with the families and children affected by this growing evil. We will not rest until justice is done.”
Officers were called to Bernstein High Tuesday night after a man said his 15-year-old stepdaughter overdosed on campus, police said.
The girl and her friend had not returned from school in the afternoon and the man started driving around town looking for the couple. He found his stepdaughter around 8 pm in the schoolyard, said police lieutenant John Radke.
She had overdosed but was able to tell her stepfather that her friend was in a women’s bathroom on campus, Radke said Wednesday.
The man and a school official found the other girl unconscious in the school bathroom where students and parents had gathered for nightly sporting events. The man administered aid until paramedics arrived and pronounced her dead, police said. His stepdaughter was hospitalized.
Earlier in the day, the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to separate calls reporting possible overdoses of two teenagers in the Lexington Park area, a few blocks from Bernstein High and a cluster of other schools, according to police.
“The victims of the overdose are believed to be students at Bernstein and local high schools,” a police statement said.
One of the victims was a 17-year-old student at nearby Hollywood High School, said Los Angeles unified school district superintendent Alberto Carvalho.
Including the latest victims, there were a total of six cases of drug-related incidents, including overdoses stemming from recently purchased illicit narcotics in Lexington Park, in a residential area of East Hollywood near US 101, Carvalho said.
“It’s a park well known for allowing individuals to sell drugs to provide drugs to some of our students,” the superintendent told reporters Wednesday.
Los Angeles Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who represents the area, ordered the park to close on Wednesday, Carvalho said.
Bereavement and crisis counselors were on hand at Bernstein High, LA Unified said in a statement.
Law enforcement officials across the country have been warning for months about the dangers of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 80 to 100 times more powerful than morphine. It is often mixed into illicit pills made to look like prescription pain relievers or other medications.
The arrests come days after a Minnesota man wasonline that led to 11 fatal overdoses.
Source : www.cbsnews.com