SANTA MONICA—Federal and local law enforcement agencies filed charges on Tuesday, May 10, against a man accused of selling counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl to three teenage girls in Santa Monica. Two of the teens who consumed the counterfeit pills experienced life-threatening overdoses.
On May 24, 2023, the three teenage girls allegedly purchased blue pills, believed to be ecstasy, online from 22-year-old Adrian Benavides-Schorgi of Jefferson Park, Los Angeles. The following night at 11 p.m., officers from the Santa Monica Police Department responded to an address in the 2000 block of 20th Street near Pico Boulevard after receiving a report of overdoses. Two of the teens were in critical condition and transported to the hospital for medical attention. One teen was still conscious and alert.
Authorities arrested Benavides-Schorgi on April 27, 2023, to be held without bond at a hearing the next day.
Upon an investigation by law enforcement, Benavides-Schorgi was charged by a federal grand jury with one count of distribution of fentanyl resulting in serious bodily injury. The trial for this case is scheduled to begin June 20, 2023, while the DEA and SMPD continue their investigations. Assistant United States Attorney Jeremy Beecher of the General Crimes Section is the prosecutor on the case.
This is just one of 12 new federal cases involving fentanyl announced by law enforcement on National Fentanyl Awareness Day this Tuesday. Four of the cases involve suspects from cities in Los Angeles County, including Santa Monica, North Hollywood, Montebello, and Torrance.
The case against Benavides-Schorgi is only one of the 12 that does not involve the death of at least one victim.
By Paige Strickland