(This Sept. 4th story corrects album title in 12th paragraph to Blue Slide Park from Blue Side Park)
By Dan Whitcomb
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Los Angeles man who prosecutors say supplied counterfeit oxycodone laced with fentanyl to rapper Mac Miller two days before his death from an accidental overdose was arrested on Wednesday on federal drug trafficking charges.
Cameron James Pettit, 28, is accused of delivering the pills to Miller, an ex-boyfriend of pop star Ariana Grande, early on the morning of Sept. 5, 2018.
Miller, the 26-year-old musician and producer born Malcolm James McCormick, was found unresponsive in his home in the Studio City neighborhood of Los Angeles on Sept. 7 and later pronounced dead at the scene.
An autopsy determined that Miller died of an accidental overdose of a mixed drug toxicity involving fentanyl, cocaine and alcohol.
Pettit was ordered held without bond during a brief hearing in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles and waived his right to a preliminary hearing in the case. His court-appointed attorney, Charles Snyder, declined to comment when reached by Reuters.
“We’ve seen too many tragic deaths,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Jacobs said outside court. “People should know that if they consume black market opioid pills they are playing Russian roulette. It could be a genuine pill or it could be laced with something that will leave them dead on the spot.”
According to the criminal complaint, Pettit delivered the 10 blue pills to Miller at a Hollywood recording studio shortly before 2:30 a.m. on Sept. 5, along with Xanax and cocaine.
Because Pettit was slow in arriving with the drugs, Miller contacted a madam he knew from previous transactions, the court papers said, and she sent a prostitute to the studio with oxycodone, Xanax, Adderall, hydrocodone and cocaine.
Prosecutors say forensic analysis and circumstantial evidence show that it was the pills brought by Pettit that contained fentanyl.
Neither the prostitute nor the madam, who according to the court documents are associated with Pettit, have been charged in the case. Pettit can be seen with the madam in pictures posted to her Instagram account.
Representatives for Miller declined to comment.
Pittsburgh-born Miller, who first gained a following while still a teenager and topped the Billboard album charts with his 2011 debut album, “Blue Slide Park,” spoke openly of his drug addiction in interviews and in song lyrics.
He was also a sought-after producer, using the pseudonym Larry Fisherman, and was posthumously nominated for a Grammy for his final album, “Swimming.”
Miller and Grande, 26, dated for about two years, breaking up in May 2018. The Grammy-winning pop star sings affectionately about him in her hit single “thank u, next,” referring to him by his given name Malcolm.
Grande’s representatives could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
Reporting by Dan Whitcomb, Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Grant McCool