Luis Eduardo Navarrete and Magaly Mejia Cano (Image Source: Carrollton Police Department)
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A Texas drug house was linked to a string of fentanyl overdoses that resulted in the deaths of three students and the hospitalization of six, according to federal investigators, the Dallas Morning News reported.
Most of the overdoses occurred in December and were traced back to a drug house in Dallas within walking distance of a high school and two middle schools.
The nine overdose victims were between 13 and 17 years old. Juvenile drug dealers as young as 14 years old frequented the residence to purchase and distribute pills laced with fentanyl to classmates.
DEA Dallas Special Agent in Charge Eduardo Chavez told WFAA, "Unfortunately, this feeling of, 'I just want to try it once and see how it feels,' you cannot do that with these things. It is too dangerous, too fatal. Unfortunately, the threshold is so small."
Luis Eduardo Navarrete, 21, and Magaly Mejia Cano, 29, were arrested in connection with the overdoses and charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl.
In December, Navarrete pleaded guilty to a 2020 domestic violence assault, a Class A misdemeanor. While Navarrete was distributing narcotics to minors, he was wearing an electronic monitoring device, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the federal case. Mejia Cano has no criminal history.
According to a criminal complaint against Navarrete and Mejia Cano, the most recent student death linked to their alleged distribution of fentanyl-laced pills occurred on February 1. Surveillance at the residence revealed the two suspects making "hand to hand" drug transactions with several individuals.
Among the nine overdose victims, one student was 13 years old. Other victims included students from two local middle schools and a nearby high school.
Another 14-year-old student overdosed twice on pills traced back to the residence. The first incident occurred at the teen's home on Christmas Eve. She was rushed to the hospital, where she was revived. The teen overdosed again on January 16, and during that incident, she experienced temporary paralysis but ultimately recovered.
According to the teen and her mother, she purchased "M30" pills from two classmates, believing the narcotics were Percocet. However, the complaint alleged that the tablets were actually "fake Percocet and OxyContin" pills laced with fentanyl.
U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Leigha Simonton referred to the criminal actions allegedly committed by Navarrete and Mejia Cano as "simply despicable."
"To deal fentanyl is to knowingly imperil lives. To deal fentanyl to minors — naive middle and high school students — is to shatter futures," Simonton told the Dallas Morning News.
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Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.