A Pittsburgh man has been charged with causing a mass overdose at an early Sunday morning afterparty that led to the deaths of three people. Four others who also overdosed were transported to the hospital following the incident that occurred at an apartment on the city’s South Side after an event at a nearby nightclub.
Authorities say that Peter Montalvo, who is also known as Carlos, has been charged by federal prosecutors with illegal drug distribution resulting in death and serious bodily injury and could face up to 20 years to life in prison if convicted.
According to the criminal complaint, Montalvo and several others were at a home at the Southside Works City Apartments at about 2 a.m. Sunday morning after leaving the nearby Insomnia Discotec. Montalvo reportedly “was showing off all the money he had” before opening up a box and scooping out a large quantity of what partygoers believed to be cocaine, according to a report in the New York Daily News.
He then circulated through the party, offering the white powder to others on a knife and letting them sniff it.
“People immediately began to ‘drop’ and suffer adverse effects,” police officers wrote in the criminal complaint.
At about 4 a.m., first responders were called to the apartment building to respond to a report of a medical emergency in an elevator, where they found a man wearing an orange wristband and identified as Rubio Martinez dead at the scene.
A short time later, another man also wearing an orange wristband and “appearing to have the same symptoms” was found on a street nearby, Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich told reporters on Sunday at a news conference. That man was then taken to the hospital for emergency medical treatment.
After going to the apartment to investigate, police then found five more overdose victims, including two who had already died. The dead men were identified as Joel Pecina and Josue Serrano. The victims’ ages have not been released but Hissrich said that the men appeared to be between 30 and 50 years old.
Authorities said that all seven overdose victims had been to an event at the nightclub and all had sniffed Montalvo’s drug, which police believe may have contained fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that can be up to 100 times more potent than morphine.
After police and federal law enforcement officers investigated the incident, which was partially recorded on a cell phone, Montalvo was arrested at about 3 a.m. on Monday morning at his home in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh.