Texas couple, allegedly tied to 10 juvenile overdoses, three of them fatal, charged with fentanyl conspiracy

Fentanyl Graphic

Two fentanyl dealers allegedly tied to as many as 10 juvenile overdoses, three of them fatal, have been federally charged, announced Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Dallas Eduardo A. Chávez

Luis Eduardo Navarrete, 21, and Magaly Mejia Cano, 29, were charged via criminal complaint with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl. They were arrested at Mr. Navarrete’s residence in Carrollton on Friday and made their initial appearances Monday afternoon.

“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,” said Eduardo A. Chavez, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Dallas Field Division. “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.”

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,” said U.S. Attorney Leigha Simonton.

According to the complaint, Mr. Navarrete and Ms. Cano allegedly dealt fake Percocet and Oxycontin pills laced with fentanyl, commonly known as “M30s,” to multiple juvenile drug dealers, mostly students at RL Turner High School, who in turn sold the drugs to their fellow students at R.L. Turner High School and younger students at Dewitt Perry and Dan F. Long Middle Schools. 

Nine students at those schools – ranging in age from 13 to 17 – suffered ten overdoses, three of which were fatal, between September 2022 and February 2023.

One victim, a 14-year-old girl who overdosed twice and suffered temporary paralysis, told law enforcement the pills she ingested came from juvenile dealers who obtained the drugs from Mr. Navarrete. (She also confirmed she had purchased pills directly from Mr. Navarrete in the past.)

Law enforcement conducting surveillance at Mr. Navarrete’s home observed him engage in a hand-to-hand transaction with another 16-year-old dealer on January 12, 2023. Officers followed the juvenile into a bathroom at R.L. Turner, where he holed up in a stall to snort the drugs. He later admitted that he’d obtained the pills – which he called “perc pills” – from Mr. Navarrete.

A criminal complaint is merely an allegation of wrongdoing, not evidence. Both Mr. Navarrete and Ms. Cano are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

If convicted, they each face up to 20 years in federal prison.

“I am very appreciative of our partnerships with all federal agencies. I am proud of the Carrollton Police Department’s work in providing the necessary evidence to the DEA. We continue to work with the DEA and other federal partners to rid our great community of this poison. We take this very seriously; there is nothing more precious than our children,” said Carrollton Police Chief Roberto Arredondo.

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Dallas Field Office and the Carrollton Police Department conducted the investigation with the assistance of School Resource Officers from the Carrollton – Farmer’s Branch Independent School. Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick Calvert is prosecuting the case.