UPDATE: 4:47 p.m. Friday, Apr. 9, 2021- Knowa Massey was arraigned in the Butte County Superior Court today.
He was arraigned on five counts including a few special allegations:
- Sale of a controlled substance to a minor (maximum of nine years in county jail)
- Selling a controlled substance 1,000 ft. from a school (maximum of two years in county jail)
- Selling to minors four years younger than him (maximum of 3 years in county jail)
- child endangerment
- felony count of child endangerment
- possession for sale of a controlled substance (fentanyl)
- offering to sell fentanyl
Massey's bail is set for $200,000 and he is scheduled for further arraignment with his public defender on Thursday, April 15.
OROVILLE, Calif. – 18-year-old Knowa Massey will be arraigned in the Butte County Superior Court this afternoon at 3:00 p.m. for drug-related charges that include selling a controlled substance to teens and child endangerment.
Massey was arrested Wednesday night on multiple felony charges after investigators searched for the person/persons responsible for selling counterfeit Xanax pills to minors that may have contained Fentanyl, according to Butte County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Megan McMann.
McMann explained what occurred, starting on Monday, Apr. 5, 2021 when a minor reported that three of her friends had overdosed on Xanax pills.
Deputies and medical personnel responded to a home in the Palermo area and took a 13-year-old, a 14-year-old, and a 15-year-old to the hospital for treatment. They have since been released.
During the week the Felony Investigations Unit, the Butte Interagency Narcotics Task Force, the Special Enforcement Unit, and the Sheriff's Office Marine Unit all worked together to discover what was behind the incident.
Detectives said they were able to determine that the pills the juveniles were overdosed on were suspected counterfeit Xanax pills that likely contained Fentanyl, which can be deadly in even small doses.
On Tuesday, Apr. 6 detectives served a search warrant at a home on Baldwin Avenue in Palermo. While they were searching the home they said they discovered evidence related to the investigation.
On Wednesday, Apr. 7, investigators identified the person that they believe sold the suspected counterfeit Xanax pills to the three teens, who were all between the ages of 13 and 15.
Later that night Knowa Massey was arrested at his residence in the 100 block of Grand Avenue in Oroville.
Investigators said while serving a search warrant at Massey's home they located a "large" quantity of counterfeit Xanax pills that they suspect were laced with Fentanyl. They also said they found cocaine and marijuana packaged for sale.
Detectives said they located evidence "which confirmed Massey was the individual who sold the counterfeit Xanax pills to the juveniles." They said the evidence that obtained also show that, "Massey knew the pills he sold to the juveniles were extremely potent."
Here is a list of the charges made against Massey upon his arrest:
- Possession of cocaine for sale
- Possession of a narcotic substance for sale
- Three counts of child endangerment
- Selling a controlled substance to minor victims
- Committing felonies which caused great bodily injury
- Possession of marijuana for sale (misdemeanor)
The Butte County Sheriff's Office wants to remind citizens that medications not obtained from legitimate pharmacists and illicit drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, and counterfeit pills can be laced with Fentanyl, which could result in death if ingested.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that can be up to 100 times more potent than morphine.
District Attorney Mike Ramsey says they are seeing an uptick in counterfit pills.
Ramsey said, "The pills look real."
He said taking pills that are not prescribed, let alone from strangers is, "extraordinarily dangerous." Ramsey called the current situation a crisis.
If you have additional information about Massey contact the detectives working on the case at (530) 538-7671.
Anyone with information on illegal narcotics sales is asked to contact the Butte Interagency Narcotics Task Force at (530) 538-2261.