DEA Busts Pair Accused of Dealing Fentanyl That Led to 10 Juvenile Overdoses

Rainbow fentanyl pills seized by the DEA. Photo via DEA.

By Steve Neavling

Federal authorities have charged two fentanyl couples who are accused of running a fentanyl ring in Texas that led to as many as 10 juvenile overdoses, three of them fatal. 

Luis Eduardo Navarrete, 21, and Magaly Mejia Cano, 29, were charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, the Justice Department announced Monday. 

They allegedly sold fake Percocet and Oxycontin pills laced with fentanyl to multiple juvenile drug dealers, who in turn sold the pills to fellow students at two high schools and a middle school. 

Nine students at those schools, ranging in age from 13 to 17, overdosed, and three of them died, between September 2022 and February 2023. A 14-year-old girl who overdosed twice suffered temporary paralysis.  

“To deal fentanyl is to knowingly imperil lives,” U.S. Attorney Leigha Simonton said. “To deal fentanyl to minors — naive middle and high school students — is to shatter futures. These defendants’ alleged actions are simply despicable. We can never replace the three teenagers whose lives were lost, nor can we heal the psychological scars of those who survived their overdoses. But we can take action to ensure these defendants are never allowed to hand a pill to a child again.”

The DEA and the Carrollton Police Department conducted surveillance at Navarrete’s Carrolloton home, which is just blocks from one of the schools. 

“Selling drugs alone is a serious transgression, but to sell deadly fentanyl to a juvenile is one of the most shocking and callous ways to hurt a community,” Eduardo A. Chavez, special agent in charge of the DEA Dallas Field Division, said. “DEA Dallas and our partners from the Carrollton Police Department will work to identify and hold accountable every individual who thinks they can profit by exposing our neighborhoods, and our children, to this deadly substance.”

Navarrete and Cano face up to 20 years in federal prison. 

Fentanyl is killing Americans at an alarming rate. Overdose deaths from synthetic opioids rose from nearly 10,000 in 2015 to more than 70,000 in 2021, according to recent federal data. 

In 2022, the DEA seized more than 379 million deadly doses of fentanyl, enough to kill every American.

CBP also announced a record amount of fentanyl was seized at the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2022. 

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