A man who admitted to handing over the fake pharmaceutical pills that killed Grammy nominated rapper Mac Miller received a federal prison sentence of nearly 11 years, according to court documents.
Ryan Michael Reavis, 39, pleaded guilty on 30 November 2021 to one count of distributing fentanyl, as one of three men charged in connection with the 2018 death of the musician, whose real name was Malcolm McCormick.
A judge in US district court in Los Angeles on Monday sentenced Reavis to 10 years and 11 months in prison, case records show.
Prosecutors asked the judge, Otis Wright II, for a sentence of 12 years and seven months.
Reavis acknowledged getting prescription painkillers laced with the potent opiate fentanyl from a man named Stephen Walter and, on Walter’s orders, leaving them with a third co-defendant, Cameron Pettit, in LA.
Pettit sold the tainted oxycodone pills to Miller, who two days later ingested them and died from an overdose primarily caused by fentanyl, authorities said.
Drug dealers are known to lace their wares with fentanyl to make them more powerful while keeping their selling price relatively affordable. Experts say the lab-created drug in particular has driven the years-long opioid crisis.
Investigators examining Miller’s death found messages showing Reavis was still selling the pills, nicknamed fake blues, even though “people have been dying left and right”.
“They can start putting [people] in prison for life for selling fake pills,” read one message cited in Reavis’s case file.
Federal prosecutors charged Reavis, Walter and Pettit with distributing fentanyl and conspiring to deal drugs resulting in death. As part of a plea deal, Reavis and Pettit each pleaded guilty solely to the fentanyl distribution charge.
Walter, 49, is awaiting a sentencing hearing set for 16 May. He has agreed to serve 17 years in prison.
As of this week, Pettit, 30, had continued signaling intent to go to trial. He could face life in prison if he is convicted on the charge of a drug conspiracy resulting in death.
In a statement to the Los Angeles Times, which first reported Monday’s sentencing, an attorney for Reavis said the defendant was fighting an addiction that has gripped Miller and many other Americans.
“Mac Miller was loved and admired by so many,” said Cori Ferrentino. “He fought many of the same demons related to addiction that Mr Reavis has fought his whole life. It is not lost on Mr Reavis for one minute that he will be able to return to his family and Mac Miller will not.”
Miller, from Pittsburgh, often explored depression and drug use in his music. Hits included titles such as Donald Trump, Programs and Self Care. His death prompted superstars like Chance the Rapper, Travis Scott and Ty Dolla $ign to perform at a tribute concert.
Miller’s last album, Swimming, earned a posthumous Grammy nomination. He was also known for a relationship with the pop singer Ariana Grande which ended months before his death.