A 15-year-old student has been charged with homicide in connection to a drug overdose. Authorities announced on Thursday that two teenagers had been arrested in relation to the overdose death of a Bernstein High School student. They are also charged with the overdoses of several other students who lived.
During a news conference on Thursday morning, LAPD Chief Michel Moore announced that the first suspect, a 15-year-old male student at the Academic Performance Excellence Academy, which is on the same Hollywood property as Bernstein H.S., was arrested and faced several charges, including manslaughter.
Early Tuesday afternoon, while on school property, the 15-year-old sold pills claiming to be Percocet to Melanie Ramos, 15, and a friend. Unbeknownst to the unsuspecting teens, the drugs were laced with fentanyl.
“It’s common practice today in the illicit pill market to use fentanyl to spike or enhance a drug,” explained Moore. “Typically and frequently, these result in overdoses because of the overabundance of fentanyl and the powerful nature of it.”
It is believed that the girls crushed the pills into power and then snorted them while they were in a school bathroom. The youngsters lost consciousness.
Moore said one of the girls was able to locate her father, who was searching for her, once she regained consciousness hours later.
Ramos was no longer alive.
“We have mixed emotions — angry, sad. We want answers,” said Gladys Manriques, a relative of Ramos. “Why was she found so late?’” asked Manriques. “To me, in a sense, the school could have done better in doing a sweep, like make sure all the kids are out of school. I’m pretty sure that’s a protocol.”
The second suspect, a 16-year-old-male, another student at Academic Performance Excellence Academy, allegedly sold narcotics at nearby Lexington Park. Investigators claim more students overdosed on the same pills.
As of Thursday, three students remained hospitalized.
“These are people who have been poisoned. These are murders,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said, vowing to follow the drugs to the source. “We are not just interested in the final distributors of the pills that peddled this death. We want to go up that chain.”
“Our work does not stop because these two individuals -15 and 16 years of age – are simply transferring and soldiering this distribution,” said Moore. “There’s a drug organization behind this. We will identify who are supplying these drugs to these two individuals and I look forward to pursuing an aggressive prosecution for them because the trail of this does not end here.”
“To the parents who are affected by this tragedy, we wrap our arms of love around you and our hearts break with you,” said Garcetti. “We have no tolerance for this evil. Anybody who is involved with the distribution of this, the manufacturing of this, those who are enabling the dealers that allow this to happen, this will not end well for you.”
“Melanie’s life was cut [too] short unfortunately on September 13 2022,” reads a GoFundMe campaign set up for the Ramos family. “Please we ask you to keep an eye on who your kids hang out with and how they influence our kids.”