Feds indict alleged supplier in South Side overdose deaths
A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted a California man accused of distributing the fentanyl mixture police say killed three men found in a South Side apartment Sunday.
The seven-count indictment against 25-year-old Peter Rene Sanchez Montalvo includes one charge of possession with intent to distribute narcotics and six counts related to the deaths and injuries from the mass overdose.
In what federal officials called a separate but related indictment, Derek Omar Smith of West Mifflin was charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute narcotics. Officials on Wednesday did not elaborate on how the Smith case is related to the South Side deaths.
U.S. Attorney Scott Brady said the medical examiner identified the narcotics from both instances as a mixture of fentanyl and one of its derivatives, acetyl fentanyl.
He called it a stark reminder that the fight against the opioid epidemic continues.
“This weekend saw a true public safety emergency in Pittsburgh,” Brady said. “We had overdose deaths, we had a kilo of suspected fentanyl loose in Pittsburgh, and we saw law enforcement respond in its best fashion.”
Montalvo left a Brookline nightclub early Sunday morning and went to an after-party at the SouthSide Works City Apartments, where he passed around what victims thought was cocaine, authorities said. The drug turned out to be fentanyl, and paramedics arrived to find three men dead and three more suffering overdoses.
Authorities initially said a seventh man, who was found semi-conscious not far from the apartment building, was among the victims from inside the apartment. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Wednesday they are not certain that man was related to the group in the apartment.
The three men who died are Rubiel Clemente-Martinez, 32, of Columbus, Ohio; Joel Pecina, 32, of Coraopolis; and Josue Soberal Serrano, 38, of Carthage, Mo.
Montalvo was arrested and charged Monday. A detention hearing is set for Thursday.
In the separate indictment, Smith, 36, is alleged to have brought narcotics to a friend’s home, where they both overdosed.
According to the complaint, paramedics were called about 3:15 a.m. Monday to a home on Bowes Avenue in West Mifflin where two men were overdosing.
Both were revived with Narcan. A witness said he’d come home to find his son and Smith in the kitchen, according to the complaint. He went to bed but was only there a few moments before his son staggered semi-conscious into the hallway. Smith, he said, lay unconscious on the floor.
Investigators noted a plate on the table with a straw containing white residue, according to the complaint. A bag the witness said belonged to Smith contained five blocks of fentanyl.
Brady applauded police who “within 24 hours of the first overdose arrested the distributor of these deadly narcotics and took five kilograms of it off the streets.”
Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, [email protected] or via Twitter .