Alleged Teen Drug Dealer Charged With Murder in Fentanyl Overdose of 12-Year-Old Girl

A 16-year-old alleged drug dealer was charged with murder in California on Tuesday in connection with the fentanyl overdose death of a 12-year-old girl.

The 16-year-old's Tuesday arrest came more than one year after the 12-year-old allegedly purchased a drug containing fentanyl from the teen, snorted about three-quarters of one pill and overdosed, according to a news release issued by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office. Neither the teenager nor the preteen were publicly identified in the release, though officials said both were residents of San Jose.

"After thousands of deaths, everyone should know that fentanyl is a deadly poison," District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in the release, adding that the 12-year-old's "tragically short life may help save others" due to the work investigators put into the case surrounding her death.

According to Rosen's office, the 12-year-old girl was with two teenagers on November 14, 2020, when she contacted the alleged drug dealer to purchase an "M-30" pill. Following the purchase, a video showing the 12-year-old preparing the drug for ingestion was recorded, after which the preteen lost consciousness and started to snore, which the news release said was "a telltale sign of a fentanyl overdose." She died after she was taken to a medical center for treatment in San Jose, Rosen's office said.

Fentanyl overdose 12-year-old girl
Murder charges were filed Tuesday against a 16-year-old who is accused of selling fentanyl to a 12-year-old girl before her overdose death in 2020. Above, a bag of assorted pills and prescription drugs dropped off for disposal is displayed during the DEA's 20th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day at Watts Healthcare on April 24, 2021, in Los Angeles, California. PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

The teenager charged with her death had screenshots in their Google Photos account containing public service announcements about the dangers of fentanyl overdoses that were dated before the November 2020 overdose occurred, according to the release.

The San Jose Police Department shared the news of the 16-year-old's arrest in a Tuesday tweet that encouraged awareness about the dangers of opioid overdoses.

"Please talk to your young ones about the dangers of this drug," the tweet said.

The 12-year-old's death made her the youngest person in Santa Clara County to die of a drug overdose in 2020, according to the district attorney's office.

State records show there were 143 opioid-related overdose deaths reported in Santa Clara County in 2020. Of those deaths, fewer than six were reported among individuals ages 10 to 14, with the bulk of the deaths reported among people in their early 20s.

At the state level, more than 5,500 opioid-related overdose deaths were reported in California in 2020. Twelve of those deaths were reported among individuals ages 10 to 14, state data shows.

Tuesday's arrest of the 16-year-old marks the second time an alleged drug dealer has been charged with murder by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office in connection with an overdose death, according to Rosen's office. The first such charge was filed in April 2020, about seven months before the 12-year-old's death. That earlier case involved a 22-year-old man who allegedly sold fentanyl to an 18-year-old through Snapchat, according to the district attorney's office.

Newsweek reached out to the San Jose Police Department for further comment.