Fake Fentanyl Pills Sold By Social Media Influencer Contributed To Woman’s Death

Click here to read about other fake medicine incidents in California

Police arrested and charged a man in San Diego County for allegedly selling counterfeit oxycodone pills that led to a Ramona, California woman’s fatal overdose in July 2018, according to NBC 7 San Diego. According to court documents, the San Diego Police Department and the San Diego Sheriff’s Department’s joint Narcotics Task Force launched an investigation that led to the arrest and drug charges filed against Michael Steen. Steen is a comedian and social media influencer who has a combined 2.6 million followers on Instagram.

Police responded to a call on July 10, 2018 about a woman’s suspected drug overdose at a residence in Ramona. Investigators found both heroin and oxycodone pills. Police believe the pills are counterfeits containing fentanyl. A search of the woman’s phone found a text conversation with a contact saved as “Yung P.” The woman and “Yung P” arranged to meet at her workplace so that she could purchase pills from him. A search of various social media platforms found multiple profiles for “Yung Poppy” and “Kiesha Red.” Information found on a LinkedIn page suggested that “Yung Poppy” was Michael Steen, an actor born in Chula Vista.

On Craigslist, investigators found a narcotics advertisement with the same phone number that the overdose victim used to communicate with “Yung P.” An undercover detective arranged to purchase several pills from “Yung P.” Immediately after the purchase was completed inside a vehicle, police arrested the occupants: Michael Steen and his girlfriend. A search of the vehicle turned up 144 additional oxycodone pills, along with some marijuana, a scale, and over $8,000. Both individuals received two charges of transportation of a controlled narcotic and possession of narcotics for sale.

To learn about other counterfeit medicine incidents in the Golden State, please read PSM’s 2018 California Infosheet.