One of the three men arrested in connection with rapper Mac Miller’s death has pled guilty to the distribution of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, and now faces up to 20 years in prison.
The defendant, 46-year-old Stephen Andrew Walter, has entered a plea deal for his involvement in Miller’s accidental death. According to documents obtained by Insider, in exchange for his plea deal, the government will drop his second charge—conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
Miller, whose birth name is Malcolm James McCormick, died of an accidental overdose on September 8, 2018 at the age of 26. The court alleges McCormick would have not died if not for the counterfeit opioid in his system, which was mixed with alcohol and cocaine.
Walter, along with two other men were indicted by the Central District of California in 2019. Walter’s counterparts—Cameron James Pettit and Ryan Michael Reavis—have pleaded not guilty. The trial is currently scheduled to begin on March 1, 2022. While Pettit was the individual who allegedly handed the pills directly to McCormick, Walter allegedly distributed the counterfeit pills with the intent to sell them as oxycodone.
The plea documents obtained by Pitchfork read:
“On or about the September 4, 2018, in Los Angeles, California, within the Central District of California, [Stephen Andrew Walter] knowingly and intentionally directed Ryan Michael Reavis to distribute fentanyl in the form of counterfeit oxycodone pills, to Cameron James Pettit. [Walter] knew that the pills that he directed Reavis to give to Pettit contained fentanyl or some other federally controlled substance, and at all relevant times intended for Reavis to distribute the pills to Pettit.
Later that evening, at [Walter]’s direction, Reavis delivered the pills to Pettit. Shortly thereafter, Pettit distributed these pill containing fentanyl to M.M. M.M. later ingested the fentanyl supplied by Pettit, which, in combination with cocaine and alcohol, caused M.M.’s death from a fatal overdose on or about September 7, 2018. M.M. would not have died from an overdose but for the fentanyl contained in the pills that M.M. had received from Pettit on September 4, 2018.”
Fentanyl’s use has become increasingly common both as a counterfeit for opioids (due to its cheaper price) or to lace other drugs such as cocaine, with or without users’ knowledge. The drug is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and highly addictive, overdosing is all too common. An amount comparable to a grain of rice is all that’s needed to overdose.
Last month, the death of The Wire actor Michael K. Williams was also linked to the use of fentanyl, and has since been determined an accidental overdose. In September, Logan Williams, the 17-year-old actor known for his role on The Flash, died of an accidental overdose connected with the use of fentanyl as well.
“It has become increasingly common for us to see drug dealers peddling counterfeit pharmaceuticals made with fentanyl. As a consequence, fentanyl is now the number one cause of overdose deaths in the United States,” United States Attorney Nick Hanna said at the time of the three men’s 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. We will continue to aggressively target drug dealers responsible for the spread of this dangerous chemical.”
For harm reduction, test strips are available for the detection of fentanyl. If you or someone you know is facing substance use disorders, we recommend reaching out to SAMHSA’s National Helpline 1-800-662-HELP (4357)Internet Explorer Channel Network