Accused dealer of fentanyl-laced cocaine in overdoses of West Point cadets indicted on federal charges
South Florida Sun Sentinel May 17, 2022
WILTON MANORS, Fla. (Tribune News Service) — Two months after a group of spring breakers, including West Point cadets, overdosed on fentanyl-laced cocaine, the Lauderhill man accused of selling them the potentially lethal drugs has been indicted on federal charges, court records show.
Axel “Gee” Casseus, 21, was indicted on two counts of distribution of a controlled substance on May 5 for allegedly selling the laced cocaine to the spring breakers on March 10 and for selling $1,000 worth of cocaine to an undercover officer on March 11, according to the indictment.
The charge stemming from the March 10 overdoses carries a higher possible penalty — life in prison with a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison. The maximum penalty for the second charge stemming from the undercover sale carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison, the indictment says.
Each charge’s maximum punishment carries a $1 million fine, the indictment says.
Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Casseus on March 11 on a drug trafficking charge in the undercover selling. He was suspected of selling the laced drugs to the spring breakers but had not been charged in that incident until the federal indictment earlier this month.
The criminal complaint, written by a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officer, says two of the six spring breakers who overdosed met Casseus at Fort Lauderdale beach on March 9 — the day before the overdoses. Those two, who are not identified in the complaint, were put on ventilators after ingesting the laced drugs.
Casseus told them when they met at the beach that he sold cocaine, the complaint says, and gave them his phone number. His number was saved under the name “Gee fort Lauderdale plug” in the phone of one spring breaker.
That college student was texting with Casseus about purchasing the drugs from about 2 a.m. March 10 until he allegedly completed the deal about 4:30 p.m., according to texts shown in the complaint.
At 11:45 a.m., Casseus texted “u still need a 8ball right” and continued to message throughout the day about when he would arrive at the Wilton Manors home the spring breakers rented, the complaint says.
Shortly after 4:30 p.m., Casseus sent a photo from the passenger seat of a car he was in and said, “be outside,” according to the complaint.
Witnesses said they saw a red car parked outside the vacation rental in the 800 block of Northwest 29th Court and a man who did not match Casseus’ description got out and exchanged money with two spring breakers for the drugs. The buyers then went inside and laid out seven lines of cocaine, the complaint says, for themselves and their friends.
After the six spring breakers ingested the lines, witnesses said they started to show signs they were overdosing. All six were hospitalized, and at least two immediately went into cardiac arrest.
The group included four cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, including an Army football player, an Army spokesperson previously told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The Sun Sentinel has requested information and records about the status of the cadets’ enrollment or other possible punishment, but West Point has not yet responded.
Fentanyl is so deadly that even a few granules can be lethal. The synthetic opioid is up to 100 times more potent than morphine.
Just 11 minutes after Casseus’ last text to the spring breaker he was communicating with, police were called about the overdoses, the complaint says.
The undercover detective contacted Casseus the next day on the phone number he gave to the spring breakers at the beach. The detective set Casseus up to buy “2 eight balls” of “soft” from him for $1,000, the complaint says.
The undercover detective left the deal with just under 44 grams of what later tested positive for cocaine. Detectives then watched the white Tesla Casseus was riding in, and he was arrested in the 2000 block of North Ocean Drive in Hollywood, according to the complaint.
Casseus later confessed to selling the cocaine to the undercover detective and admitted he was in Wilton Manors on March 10 with a friend he called Vontae, the complaint says. Casseus said Vontae sold the cocaine to the two people he met on the beach on March 9 and that he made no money from that deal.
Vontae made about $400 to $500 from that deal, the complaint says Casseus claimed. He also claimed that Vontae was using his phone to arrange the sale to the undercover officer and that Vontae told him what to say to the officer on the phone.
“Casseus claimed that ‘Vontae’ supplied the cocaine and all Casseus did was add baking soda,” the complaint says.
Casseus said he made $100 from the deal with the undercover officer. But he later changed his story, according to the complaint.
He backtracked and said Vontae was not at the beach on March 9 and was with two other friends — “Swizzy” and “Dre” — that day and that Swizzy was facilitating the drug deals, the complaint says.
It was Swizzy who met the spring breakers who said they wanted to buy drugs. Casseus then told Vontae, the complaint says, and he and Vontae went to the Wilton Manors home where Vontae finished the deal.
Authorities searched Vontae’s phone and that data, along with license plate reader data and information from an ankle monitor Casseus was wearing stemming from an unrelated charge showed that on the day of the spring breakers’ overdose, Casseus and Vontae were together and arrived at the Wilton Manors home shortly after 4:30 p.m., the complaint says, and were there for one minute.
The two then went to a hotel in Fort Lauderdale beach.
It is not immediately clear whether others are being prosecuted in the case. Casseus’ attorney did not immediately return an email late Monday.
A judge denied Casseus pre-trial release, records say, citing the “near-death overdose of two victims.” A jury trial is scheduled for June 6, and it is expected to last five days.
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