NEW ORLEANS – Two men have been arrested and charged in a drug distribution ring that put heroin, cocaine and other drugs into the hands of a 16-year-old student who died from an overdose in New Orleans last month, officials said.
David C. Battenberg, 27, of Metairie, La., and Diego A. Perez, 18, of New Orleans are charged in a federal criminal complaint with being involved in a conspiracy to distribute and possess heroin, cocaine and other controlled substances, U.S. Attorney Jim Letten said.
The charges stem from a fast-tracked federal investigation initiated by the overdose death of Maddy Prevost, a junior at Lusher High School in New Orleans, who died in January from a toxic mixture of heroin and cocaine.
"The arrest of these two individuals on heroin distribution charges which we announce today signals something more important than the apprehension of drug dealers," Letten told the Times-Picayune. "Rather, it signals the end of a drug distribution business which caused the loss of a child."
James Bernazzani, the special agent in charge of the FBI's New Orleans Office, said his agents planned to visit the parents of children identified as drug buyers in the course of the investigation, the paper reports.
"This is not a time for punishment," he told the paper. "This is a time for hugs. . . Get them the treatment they need."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.