Man to Plead Guilty to Fentanyl Distribution in Death of Mac Miller

Under an agreement with federal prosecutors, Stephen Andrew Walter, 48, would serve 17 years in prison for distributing the fentanyl pills that Mr. Miller consumed before he died.,


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A Los Angeles man has agreed to plead guilty to distributing the fentanyl pills that the rapper Mac Miller consumed before he died of an accidental overdose in 2018, according to court documents.

Under the agreement with federal prosecutors, the man, Stephen Andrew Walter, 48, would serve 17 years in prison.

Mr. Walter was one of three people indicted in 2019 connection with the death of Mr. Miller, 26, a versatile artist who had rapped about drug use and spoken openly about his struggles with addiction and depression.

The two other defendants, Cameron James Pettit and Ryan Michael Reavis, are scheduled to go to trial in March, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

According to the plea agreement, which was filed in court on Monday, Mr. Walter directed Mr. Reavis to distribute fentanyl in the form of counterfeit oxycodone pills to Mr. Pettit on Sept. 4, 2018.

Later that evening, at Mr. Walter’s direction, Mr. Reavis delivered the pills to Mr. Pettit, the document states.

Shortly thereafter, Mr. Pettit gave the pills to Mr. Miller. Mr. Miller later ingested the fentanyl, which, in combination with cocaine and alcohol, caused him to die of an overdose on Sept. 7, 2018, the document states.

Mr. Miller “would not have died from an overdose but for the fentanyl contained in the pills” that he received from Mr. Pettit, Mr. Walter’s plea agreement states.

Mr. Walter is expected to formally plead guilty to one count of fentanyl distribution on Nov. 8 and to be sentenced at a later date.

Mr. Walter and the prosecutors agreed that his sentence should be calculated based on a more serious offense — distribution of fentanyl resulting in death — than on the single count of fentanyl distribution to which he agreed to plead guilty.

“Everybody agreed, after going through all the evidence, that this was a fair and reasonable disposition,” Mr. Walter’s lawyer, William Harris, said on Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors declined to comment on the plea agreement on Wednesday. Lawyers for Mr. Pettit did not immediately respond to messages. A lawyer for Mr. Reavis confirmed that no plea agreement had been reached in his case.

Mr. Miller had recently released his fifth full-length album, “Swimming,” which opened at No. 3 on the Billboard album chart, when he died in his home in the Studio City section of Los Angeles.

An early internet success story, he topped the chart with his independent debut, “Blue Slide Park,” in 2011. By 2013 he was speaking publicly about addiction, and his 2015 album “GO:OD AM” dealt with it explicitly.

In 2016, Mr. Miller’s romantic relationship with the pop star Ariana Grande brought even him more widespread attention. She announced in 2018 that they had broken up.

According to the indictment, Mr. Pettit had agreed to supply Mr. Miller with 10 “blues” — a street term for oxycodone pills — as well as cocaine and the sedative Xanax.

But instead of giving Mr. Miller genuine oxycodone, Mr. Pettit sold Mr. Miller counterfeit oxycodone pills that contained fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that is far more potent than heroin, prosecutors said.

The indictment said that Mr. Pettit had ordered the fentanyl-laced pills from Mr. Walter and that Mr. Reavis had then delivered the drugs to Mr. Pettit.

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