Federal charge in fentanyl death of Montgomery County high school student

The fentanyl-laced pill killed a 16-year-old Walt Whitman High School student. Now, the man who provided it faces a new federal charge.

The pill that a 16-year-old Walt Whitman High School thought was oxycodone was actually laced with fentanyl. Now, the man who sold the pill faces a new federal charge in connection with Landen Hausman’s death.

In April, Mikiyas Maryie Kefyalew, 24, of Silver Spring, Maryland, was charged with the state crime of distribution of a narcotic.

Now, federal prosecutors have added the charge of distribution of fentanyl resulting in death or serious bodily injury, which carries a statutory maximum of life in prison. Kefyalew is being held until trial.

Hausman’s father, Marc, has been vocal since his son’s death in January 2022, attempting to raise awareness of the problem of teens who choosing to use drugs and alcohol to cope with their mental health issues.

“Landen went into his bathroom, cut a straw in half, crushed up a pill, and snorted it,” Marc Hausman wrote in a LinkedIn post, a week after his son’s death. The autopsy determined Hausman died from an oxycodone overdose.

In a news release, federal prosecutors say an investigation of Hausman’s phone revealed several alleged conversations between the victim and a contact saved as “Mick,” and that conversations discussed meeting for a drug transaction.

Although the federal charge could result in a life sentence, Maryland prosecutors say actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. If convicted, the judge would determine the sentence, after taking into account sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

In May, a Montgomery County grand jury indicted Kefyalew on two felony state counts; distributing a controlled dangerous substance, and distributing a narcotic mixed with fentanyl or heroin, which could carry a sentence of up to 25 years in prison.

A three-day state trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 2, although that could be affected by the new federal charge.

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