EVANSVILLE, Ind. — A man and woman from Evansville have been indicted and face federal charges after exposing several young children to fentanyl which resulted in a 3-year-old girl and a one-year-old girl suffering from an overdose after ingesting the drug. The 3-year-old ultimately died as a result.
Arcinial Montreal Watt, 34, and Jazmynn Alaina Brown, 24, both of Evansville, were indicted by a federal grand jury and face charges of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl resulting in death, conspiracy to distribute fentanyl resulting in serious bodily injury and possession with the intent to distribute fentanyl.
If found guilty of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl resulting in death, both Watt and Brown could face 20 years to life in prison along with a fine of up to $10 million.
“This did not need to happen. A toddler is dead, and a baby was hospitalized because of the greed and utter disregard for human life displayed by those who traffic deadly drugs in our community,” said Zachary A. Myers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, after the indictment was announced.
“The serious charges announced today demonstrate that federal law enforcement and our local partners are determined to hold criminals accountable for pushing poison on our streets,” he added.
According to court documents, Watt had obtained significant amounts of fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills from an unknown source and stored the pills inside a bedroom he shared with his girlfriend, Brown, at a residence on East Sycamore Street in Evansville. Brown reporterly would sell these pills that Watt supplied to her.
According to a previous report, four children were ultimately exposed to fentanyl as a result of the narcotics being left around the house in plain view.
The 3-year-old girl who ultimately died as a result of ingesting fentanyl was not taken to a hospital until a day after she ingested the drug. Police said it wasn’t the girl’s mother, Makaylee Opperman, who ultimately called 911 but the young child’s grandmother.
The grandmother told police Makaylee didn’t take the child to the hospital due to being afraid child protective services would be called on her.
Makaylee reportedly lived at the home on Sycamore Street with Brown and Watt. Four children were in the home including Brown’s 4-year-old child and Makaylee’s other children, an infant and a two-year-old.
Police reported arriving at the home on Sycamore Street and finding Brown’s 4-year-old child alone in the residence with numerous fentanyl pills in plain view.
All of the children were ultimately taken to the hospital and given Narcan, but the 3-year-old ended up being pronounced dead the following morning as a result of an overdose. The one-year-old girl also had to be placed on a Narcan drip due to overdosing. She survived.
“This particular child is no longer with us because of the choices made by adults,” said Evansville Chief of Police Billy Bolin.
“Our hearts go out to the loved ones that are left picking up the pieces of this destruction. The message we have is clear, if you choose to deal harmful drugs in our communities and neighborhoods, we will act and bring you to justice,” the police chief added.
During the investigation, officers seized over 5,000 fentanyl-laced pills, over $30,000 in cash and a 9mm handgun from the home on Sycamore Street.
Three others, including Makaylee Opperman, were also charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death in connection to the 3-year-old’s overdose death. Makaylee currently has a jury trial set for Oct. 31.
Watt can also be sentenced to 10 years to life in prison if convicted of conspiracy to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl.
“I’d like to express how grateful we are to have federal partners that share an objective of ridding our community and our neighborhoods of these very terrible drugs,” said Bolin.