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A man was sentenced Monday to 17.5 years in prison and five years of supervised release in federal court in Los Angeles in connection with the 2018 overdose death of rapper Mac Miller, 26.
Stephen Andrew Walter, 48 and of Westwood, Calif., is now the second drug trafficker to be sentenced to more than a decade behind bars for Miller’s death.
Ryan Michael Reavis, 39, was sentenced in April to nearly 11 years in prison after previously pleading guilty to a single count of distributing fentanyl. The case against a third dealer, Cameron James Pettit, 30, of Los Angeles, remains pending as prosecutors asked last October to have it postponed.
DRUG DEAL WHO SOLD MAC MILLER’S FENTANYL PILLS SENTENCED TO MORE THAN A DECADE IN PRISON
Walter reached a deal with federal prosecutors in October to serve 17 years if he pleaded guilty to one count of distributing fentanyl, a reduced charge from the initial distribution of fentanyl resulting in death, the Los Angeles reported. Angeles Times. But U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II rejected the deal Monday, arguing that Walter continued to distribute dangerous substances after Miller’s death.
“The court has chosen not to accept this plea deal. So, sir, if you wish, at this point you can withdraw your guilty plea and go to trial,” the judge said Monday, according to Rolling Stone. “I may as well expose it, okay. When you continue to engage in this activity even after your activities have killed someone, I have a hard time not following the guidelines.”
Wright said Miller’s “celebrity” status had nothing to do with his decision to approach the 20-year maximum sentence for the charge.
“It was a human being who unwittingly took something that will outright kill you, and I have no idea why we have people here selling this stuff, peddling this stuff,” said the judge. “That’s what upsets me. Everyone now knows that this stuff is going to kill you.”
Miller, a rapper from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania whose real name was Malcolm James Myers McCormick, was found unresponsive by his assistant inside his Los Angeles home on September 7, 2018.
The Los Angeles County medical examiner and coroner has ruled that Miller died of an accidental overdose caused by a lethal cocktail of fentanyl, cocaine and alcohol, FOX 5 San Diego reported.
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The indictment says Walter provided fentanyl-containing pills to Reavis and Pettit for distribution. Pettit is accused of later selling cocaine, Xanax and 10 “blues” — counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl — to Miller about three days before the rapper’s death, according to the Times. In court, Walter apologized to Miller’s family, but claimed he had no idea he provided the pills that caused the rapper’s death until his arrest.
The pharmaceutical fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, is sold in illegal drug markets for its heroin-like effect and is the leading driver of overdose deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids were nearly 12 times higher in 2019 than in 2013 and have accelerated since the pandemic.