Authorities arrested a California man on Monday just outside of Pittsburgh after a rash of drug overdoses killed three people at a party in the Pennsylvania city over the weekend.
Survivors of the overdose reported that “after they did a ‘bump’ of suspected cocaine people immediately began to drop and suffer adverse effects,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania said in a news release.
The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office found that the white powder — which Peter Rene Sanchez Montalvo is accused of giving partygoers at a South Side Pittsburgh apartment Sunday around 4 a.m. — was laced with fentanyl, the powerful and often deadly synthetic opioid, according to prosecutors.
Sanchez Montalvo, who is sometimes known as Carlos, was arrested at a home in McKees Rocks in suburban Pittsburgh, prosecutors said. He’s charged with illegal distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death and serious bodily injury.
Prosecutors did not say where in California Sanchez Montalvo is from, but a criminal complaint said that during a search authorities seized “a California driver’s license with Montalvo’s likeness and in the name of Peter Rene Sanchez Montalvo.” The search also revealed “a large amount of cash, cellular telephones, and packaging material typically associated with heroin trafficking,” the complaint said.
A video of Sanchez Montalvo “scooping out the suspected cocaine, and serving the individuals in the apartment” tied Sanchez Montalvo to the scene, according to the complaint.
The party followed a concert that Sanchez Montalvo attended at Insomnia Discotec in Brookline, according to a Pittsburgh police news release, with Sanchez Montalvo inviting other concertgoers and band members to the apartment where he was staying.
Prosecutors said Sanchez Montalvo “produced a large quantity of powdered narcotics in a box” at the party and “then cut into the narcotics and scooped out a large quantity of what the users believed was cocaine. Sanchez Montalvo then started going around the room with the knife, allowing individuals to sniff the white powder from it.”
First responders discovered an adult man dead near an elevator when they entered the apartment complex, as well as two dead men inside the apartment and three more suffering medical emergencies. Pittsburgh police said “multiple people became seriously ill” from the drugs. Those who overdosed were found with orange wristbands, which concert attendees had been given, according to police
Police said the medical examiner’s office has yet to release toxicology results for those who overdosed, TribLIVE reported.
If convicted on the charges he faces, Sanchez Montalvo could be sentenced to at least 20 years and up to life in prison, prosecutors said.
The band was from Ohio, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which reported that the three who died at the apartment were “Rubiel Clemente-Martinez, 32, of Columbus, Ohio; Josue Soberal Serrano, 38, of Carthage, Mo.; and Joel Pecina, 32, of Coraopolis.”
The complaint described the concert venue as “an after-hours club frequented by members of the Hispanic Community.”