Man charged with selling fentanyl to rapper Mac Miller before his death

A 2013 photo shows rapper Mac Miller performing in Philadelphia.
A 2013 photo shows rapper Mac Miller performing in Philadelphia.PHOTO: AP

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - A Los Angeles man who prosecutors say sold counterfeit oxycodone laced with fentanyl to rapper Mac Miller two days before his death from an accidental overdose was arrested on Wednesday (Sept 4) on federal drug charges.

Cameron James Pettit, 28, was accused in US District Court in Los Angeles of delivering the pills to Miller, the former boyfriend of Grammy-winning pop star Ariana Grande, early on the morning of Sept 5, 2018.

The 26-year-old performer, whose real name was Malcolm James McCormick, was found unresponsive in his home in the Studio City neighborhood of Los Angeles on the morning of Sept 7 and later pronounced dead at the scene.

Following an autopsy, the Los Angeles County coroner ruled that Miller had died of an accidental overdose of cocaine and fentanyl.

Investigators believe Pettit likely supplied him with the pills that caused his death, according to the charging documents.

Pettit, who was taken into custody on Wednesday on a single count of drug trafficking, was scheduled to make an initial court appearance in federal court in Los Angeles later in the afternoon. It was not immediately clear if he had retained an attorney.

Prosecutors say Pettit also supplied Miller with Xanax and cocaine on the morning of Sept 5 and after learning of the rapper's death through the news media, told a friend: "Most likely I will die in jail."

If convicted, Pettit faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

"Fentanyl disguised as a genuine pharmaceutical is a killer - which is being proven every day in America," US Attorney Nick Hanna said in announcing the charges. Fentanyl is an extremely potent opioid about 100 times more powerful than morphine.

"Drugs laced with cheap and potent fentanyl are increasingly common, and we owe it to the victims and their families to aggressively target the drug dealers that cause these overdose deaths," Hanna said.

Representatives for Miller declined to comment.

Miller had spoken openly of his drug addiction in interviews and in his music, and dated Grande, 26, for about two years. The couple split in May 2018, months before his death. Miller was posthumously nominated for a best rap album Grammy.

Grande, who recorded a duet with Miller in 2012, sings affectionately about him in her hit 2019 single "thank u, next,"referring to him by his given name Malcolm.

A spokesman for Grande could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday.