Editor’s note: This article includes description of a fatal drug overdose.
A man has been arrested for selling counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl to a teen from Bethesda, Maryland, who died of an overdose earlier this year, according to police.
Montgomery County police said that they arrested Mikiyas Kefyalew, 23, of Silver Spring, on Thursday and charged him with one count of distribution of a narcotic. Police said there may be more charges to come.
“This case is another tragic example of the harms that can occur with counterfeit pills containing fentanyl,” Montgomery County Chief of Police Marcus Jones said in a news release.
“These pills add another deadly layer to the opiate crisis facing our communities. Individuals, including young people, take a drug they believe to have minimal harm, but end up taking a substance that is extremely deadly,” Jones said.
The teen was Landen Hausman, a 16-year-old student at Walt Whitman High School, who died on Jan. 17, according to WTOP’s news partner NBC Washington.
Marc Hausman, Landen’s father, has been vocal about the struggles Landen had with anxiety and depression since his son’s death, and how Landen used drugs and alcohol to cope with those issues.
The night of Landen’s death, his father said that Landen appeared to be turning a corner as he went to shower before going to bed. The next morning Marc found him lying naked on the bathroom floor, his face covered in blood from the rupture of blood vessels in his nose.
“For some reason that none of us will ever know, he took a pill, crushed it up, cut a straw in half and snorted that pill,” Marc Hausman said at a remembrance for Landen in January.
Part of the reason for Marc Hausman’s openness about Landen’s death is to dispel the notion that this was how Landen wanted his life to end — just like musician Kurt Cobain, as two of his classmates had said at a candlelight vigil held in his honor, according to Marc.
“For all of his classmates and his teammates and youngsters who are here, what you need to know is: there is nothing romantic about his death. There is nothing honorable about his death,” Marc Hausman said in January.
He went on to say that this was not the way his son wanted to die.