Woman Charged With Murder for Suspected Fentanyl Deaths of 2 Young Covina Men

Woman Charged With Murder for Suspected Fentanyl Deaths of 2 Young Covina Men

Various forms of fentanyl. (Courtesy of the University of Houston)

City News Service

City News Service

4/18/2024

Updated: 4/18/2024

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POMONA, Calif.—A San Bernardino County woman has been charged with murder for allegedly supplying fentanyl to two young Covina men who died within less than a week of each other in what are believed to have been drug overdoses.
Isyss Ibisola Akerele, 21, of Colton, was charged with two counts of murder in connection with the March 31 death of 20-year-old Andrew Nunez and the April 4 death of 18-year-old Rickey Renta III, along with three drug-related counts and an allegation that she was free on bail or her own recognizance at the time of the alleged crimes in connection with an earlier arrest in San Bernardino County, Deputy District Attorney Phil Stirling told City News Service Wednesday.
“It is believed both victims died after ingesting fentanyl. The defendant is charged with two counts of murder based upon her alleged role in furnishing fentanyl to both victims,” the prosecutor said.
The murder charges may be the first to be filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office involving suspected fatal fentanyl overdoses, but officials could not be reached for immediate comment.
Mr. Nunez died at a hospital and Mr. Renta died at a residence, according to records from the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office, which listed the cause of the young men’s deaths as “deferred.”
Ms. Akerele was arrested April 4 by Covina police after an undercover operation, according to the prosecutor.
Ms. Akerele—who appeared in a Pomona courtroom Wednesday—is due back in court for arraignment June 20.
She remains behind bars without bail, according to Los Angeles County jail records.
The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office notes on its website that its office was “among the first in Southern California to charge drug dealers with murder for fentanyl-related deaths.”
Last August, a jury convicted a Temecula man of second-degree murder for the fentanyl-related death of a 26-year-old woman in June 2020 in what the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office called a landmark case in California. He was subsequently sentenced to 15 years to life in state prison.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has also prosecuted a number of cases involving fentanyl deaths, including one against a Torrance resident who was sentenced in February to 26 years in federal prison after he admitted supplying fentanyl that caused two deaths on consecutive days in 2020 in Redondo Beach hotel rooms.
Fentanyl is manufactured in overseas labs, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which says the synthetic opioid is smuggled across the U.S.-Mexico border by cartels.
The drug is 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine, and ingestion of only two milligrams can be fatal.
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