On Thursday, LAPD arrested two teenagers in connection with the death of a 15-year-old girl who overdosed in a high school restroom after buying pills possibly intertwined with fentanyl on campus, authorities said.
Police served a search warrant around 8:30 am as part of an investigation into a girl’s overdose death the day before at Hollywood’s Bernstein High School, police chief Michel Moore said.
A 15-year-old boy living with his grandmother was arrested on manslaughter charges, Moore said. Investigators believe he sold pills touted as Percocet to two 15-year-old friends around 12:30 pm on Tuesday who later crushed and snorted narcotics in their school’s bathroom.
The Los Angeles County coroner identified the dead student as Melanie Ramos, 15. Her unidentified friend of hers who also overdosed remained hospitalized and should have recovered.
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 drug in nearby Lexington Park. He could be accused of narcotics, the boss said.
Police will work with the US Drug Enforcement Agency to find distributors who supplied the pills to 15- and 16-year-olds, Moore said.
“There is a drug organization behind this,” he said.
The suspected teenagers knew each other and both attend Apex Academy, an independent charter school that shares a campus with Bernstein.
Traders lacing common painkillers with fentanyl is an increasingly common practice, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a news conference.
“I’m not an overdose. These are people who have been poisoned, “Garcetti said.” A pill can kill. “
Officers were called to Bernstein High Tuesday night after a man said his 15-year-old stepdaughter had overdosed on campus, police said.
The girl and her friend hadn’t returned home from school in the afternoon and the man started driving around town in search of the couple. He found his stepdaughter around 8 p.m. in a schoolyard, police lieutenant John Radke said.
She had overdosed but managed to tell her stepfather that her friend was in a girls’ restroom on campus, Radke said Wednesday.
The man and a school employee found the other girl unresponsive in the school bathroom where students and parents had gathered for evening sporting events. The man assisted until paramedics arrived and pronounced her dead, police said. His stepdaughter was hospitalized.
Earlier in the day, Los Angeles firefighters answered separate calls reporting possible overdoses of two teenagers in the Lexington Park area, a few blocks from Bernstein High and a group of other schools, according to police.
“The overdose victims are believed to be students from Bernstein and local high schools,” a police statement read.
One of the victims was a 17-year-old student from nearby Hollywood High School, said Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.
Including the latest casualties, there have been a total of six drug-related incidents, including overdoses resulting from recently purchased illicit narcotics in Lexington Park in an East Hollywood residential area near US 101, Carvalho said.
“It is a well-known park for allowing people to sell drugs to supply drugs to some of our students,” the superintendent told reporters Wednesday.
Los Angeles city council member Mitch O’Farrell, who represents the area, ordered the park to close on Wednesday, Carvalho said.
Grieving and crisis counselors were present at Bernstein High, LA Unified said in a statement.
For months, law enforcement agencies nationwide have been warning about the dangers of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine. It is often mixed into illicit pills made to look like pain relievers or other prescription medicines.