The death of 16-year-old Perla Velasco in October after she took a pill laced with the deadly synthetic drug fentanyl sent shockwaves through her family, local medical professionals and law enforcement, prompting a major push to prevent more overdoses and deaths in the months that followed.
While doctors at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula (where Velasco was treated and died) worked overtime in partnership with law enforcement, substance abuse professionals and others to track overdoses and warn the public, the Peninsula Regional Violence and Narcotics Team investigated who provided the fake Percocet pill to Velasco.
On Feb. 9, Seaside police arrested James Hanford Davis, an 18-year-old man suspected of involvement in selling that pill, says Seaside Police Sgt. Jorge Enriquez. Davis was arrested during a traffic stop on the 1500 block of Fremont Boulevard, on an outstanding warrant for involuntary manslaughter.
The warrant was a result of an investigation into Davis’ alleged role in supplying the drug that led to Velasco’s death, although details remain sparse.. “I don’t know what that role was," Enriquez says.
According to Berkley Brannon of the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office, the warrant was issued in the weeks after Veslasco’s death.
Davis was 17 at the time he allegedly sold the pill to Velasco, which means his case will proceed in Juvenile Court. His first court appearance is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 14.
He’s been incarcerated at the Monterey County Jail since his arrest on charges of involuntary manslaughter, child cruelty and selling narcotics. The PRVNT investigation is ongoing.