Soon after news reports of Mac Miller’s overdose death last year, the hip-hop artist’s alleged drug dealer anxiously messaged a friend on Instagram.
“Most likely I will die in jail,” Cameron Pettit wrote, according to court documents. In the exchange, he said he was going to move to another country and get off the grid.
“Nothing has happened yet,” he wrote. “But it might.”
Now, almost exactly a year later, the 28-year-old Hollywood Hills man is facing 20 years in federal prison on a charge that he sold counterfeit oxycodone laced with fentanyl to Miller two days before his death.
Pettit was arrested Wednesday and charged with one count of distributing a controlled substance.
Authorities say the case highlights the problem of black market pharmaceuticals, many of which are manufactured by drug cartels in Mexico for 75 cents to $1.50 per pill and later sold on the streets of Los Angeles for $20 or more per pill.
“Fentanyl is a killer, and it’s never more deadly than when it’s disguised to look like a genuine pharmaceutical pill,” said Assistant U.S. Atty. Matthew J. Jacobs. “People should know that if they consume black market opioid pills they’re playing Russian roulette.”
Pettit appeared in court briefly late Wednesday. At one point while waiting for his case to be called, Pettit, who has pinkish hair and face tattoos, bowed his head into his lap.
Jacobs asked a judge to order Pettit held without bail on grounds that he’s a danger to the community and a flight risk.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Audero ordered Pettit detained, citing messages suggesting plans to leave the country as well as the seizure of empty pill capsules, a ledger and narcotics at his home. She said Pettit has ties to Northern California but that his parents were unwilling to act as sureties.
Charles Snyder, a federal public defender appointed to represent Pettit, declined to comment after the hearing. Pettit is due back in court in October.
Two other people are named in charging documents as having supplied Miller with narcotics. Neither has been charged in the case but authorities said the investigation is ongoing.
Prosecutors say Pettit supplied Miller with narcotics for a period of several months.
In court documents, authorities cited text messages that show Pettit agreed to give Miller, whose real name is Malcolm James McCormick, 30-milligram oxycodone pills, cocaine and Xanax.
The oxycodone pills, however, were counterfeits laced with fentanyl — a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin.
Investigators believe that Miller died after snorting the counterfeit pills Pettit provided.
It’s unclear if Pettit knew that the drugs were counterfeit.
Times staff writers Colleen Shalby and Matt Hamilton contributed to this report