Federal prosecutors charge 24-year-old man with selling fentanyl that led to overdose death of Whitman student


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If convicted of distributing fentanyl that led to the death or serious injury of a minor victim, Mikiyas Maryie Kefyalew of Silver Spring faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

By Ethan Schenker

Federal prosecutors charged a 24-year-old man with distributing fentanyl that resulted in the overdose death of Whitman sophomore Landen Hausman in January, the U.S. Justice Department announced in a press release this morning.

If convicted, Mikiyas Maryie Kefyalew of Silver Spring faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. 

After his arrest in April, Montgomery County police accused Kefyalew of selling Hausman counterfeit Percocet pills that later tested positive for fentanyl. The 16-year-old Whitman student died of fentanyl intoxication, according to a medical examiner’s report. Maryland prosecutors subsequently indicted Kefyalew on narcotics and fentanyl distribution charges. 

As a result of the federal government’s new criminal complaint, Kefyalew now faces criminal charges at both the federal and state levels. Justice Department officials were unavailable for further comment on Wednesday afternoon. 

According to federal prosecutors, a witness told law enforcement that Hausman purchased “percs” from an individual known as “Mick.” The witness described the “percs” as small blue pills, which matched the counterfeit Percocet pill that police discovered in Hausman’s bedroom after his death. 

Police also found multiple messages on Kefyalew’s phone that suggested drug trafficking activities. In one exchange, an individual told Kefyalew that “perc” users should get Narcan to prevent overdoses, federal prosecutors wrote in the press release. 

Federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agents, the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office and four local police departments supported the government’s criminal investigation of Kefyalew, according to Justice Department officials. 

In an interview after Kefyalew’s arrest in April, Landen’s father, Marc Hausman, told The Black & White that closure for his family will come when other Whitman students understand the importance of making careful decisions about substance use, he said. 

“Landen is the one that made the decision to purchase illegal substances and consume illegal substances,” Hausman said. “Sometimes you get a second chance and sometimes you don’t.”



This is a developing story.