Couple arrested in fatal fentanyl overdoses at Hawaii hotel room
Jun 27, 2023, 1:56 PM
HONOLULU (AP) — Authorities have arrested a man and woman they say supplied the fentanyl in a mass overdose that left two people dead in a room at an oceanfront Hawaii hotel.
Avery Garrard and Keina Drageset were taken into custody Friday and are charged with conspiring with each other and others to distribute fentanyl that resulted in death, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday.
Honolulu police and paramedics found five people who were either unresponsive or needed medical help at the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort on June 4. One man was pronounced dead at the scene, and another later died at a hospital.
As of Tuesday, the Honolulu medical examiner’s office hadn’t determined a cause of death for either man.
The three who survived told Drug Enforcement Administration investigators they had believed the drugs, which were acquired by one of the dead men, were cocaine or MDMA.
“All three did not know the substance possibly contained fentanyl,” a DEA agent wrote in the complaint.
Two people named in the document as sources who have not yet been charged but are cooperating with law enforcement identified Garrard and Drageset as the suppliers of the fentanyl.
A search of the couple’s apartment last week in a Honolulu luxury building turned up approximately $100,000 in cash in a safe, along with drugs that tested positive for fentanyl, the complaint said. They were arrested later that day in a white Tesla.
Neal Kugiya, an attorney representing Garrard, declined to comment before an initial appearance for the pair scheduled for Tuesday.
Jacquelyn Esser, Drageset’s attorney, said she would respond to a request for comment after meeting with her client.
Fentanyl is an opioid many times more powerful than heroin and typically is prescribed to treat severe pain. It frequently appears as an illegal street drug mixed with other substances.
Experts say the growing prevalence of fentanyl in the illicit drug supply is a top driver of the increasing number of overdose deaths in the U.S.