One of the three drug dealers charged in the deadly fentanyl overdose that claimed the life of rising rapper Mac Miller was sentenced to nearly 11 years in prison on Monday.
Ryan Michael Reavis, 39, appeared in federal court in Los Angeles and said he was the middle man who had no idea the counterfeit oxycodone pills he provided to a fellow dealer before they killed the rising rapper in September 2018 were laced with fentanyl. He asked for only five years in custody.
The final sentence of 10 years and 11 months was slightly more than what probation officials recommended but less than the 12 and a half years prosecutors sought. U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II levied the punishment after prosecutors read a heart-wrenching statement from Miller’s mom, Karen Meyers.
“My life went dark the moment Malcolm left his world. Malcolm was my person, more than a son. We had a bond and kinship that was deep and special and irreplaceable. We spoke nearly every day about everything – his life, plans, music, dreams,” the statement said.
Meyers said her son, who was born Malcolm James McCormick, had a laugh that was “infectious and bright.” She called their love for each other “unparalleled” and said her son’s music and voice “spoke to many people all over the world.”
“He would never knowingly take a pill with fentanyl, ever. He wanted to live and was excited about the future. The hole in my heart will always be there,” she said.
Before he was sentenced, Reavis, 39, told the court he was unaware the pills provided caused the musician’s death until he was arrested in Arizona a year later in September 2019.
“This is not just a regular drug case. Somebody died, and a family is never going to get their son back. My family would be wrecked if it was me. They’d never be all right, never truly get over it. I think about that all the time. And I know that whatever happens today, I’m the lucky one because my family is here and I’m here and I’ll be with them again. I feel terrible. This is not who I am,” Reavis told the court. “My perspective has changed. My heart has changed.”
According to prosecutors, Reavis had three guns in his possession when he was arrested in Lake Havasu, including an untraceable “ghost gun,” as well as boxes of ammunition, “digital scales covered in heroin and methamphetamine residue,” blank prescription pads, and baggies.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Elia Herrera also told Judge Wright that a recovered text message Reavis sent to an associate in June 2019 showed he was still selling pills nearly a year after Miller’s death, clearly cognizant that fentanyl was a problem. In the text, Reavis was upset that the associate connected him to a potential drug customer who was a man posing as someone named Jenny while trying to buy eight oxycodone pills known as “blues” from him.
“So ‘Jenny’ turned out to be a guy named jack that says he [sic] Jenny’s boyfriend. It was him I was talking to the entire time. No heads up, that shit needs to be discussed before hand so I kno [sic] I’m not talking to a cop . . . People have been dying from fake blues left and right, you better believe law enforcement is using informants and undercover[s] to buy them on the street do [sic] they can start putting ppl in prison for life for selling fake pills,” the text from Reavis said.
“Defendant knew that people were dying from fake blues left and right. He knew that people were being put away in prison for life for dealing them. Defendant was not worried about people dying left and right. He was worried about getting caught,” Herrera said.
In addition to his prison time, Reavis also was sentenced to three years of supervised release with drug testing.
McCormick was 26 years old when he died at his home in Los Angeles on Sept. 7, 2018, from a lethal cocktail of fentanyl, cocaine, and alcohol, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner and Coroner ruled.
The “Self Care” rapper, who was open about his struggles with addiction, was last seen alive by his assistant around 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 6, 2018. It was the assistant who found him unresponsive the next morning when he went to check on him.
Two other men also have been charged in the case.
Stephen Andrew Walter, 48, took a plea deal carrying a 17-year prison sentence last October, admitting he supplied the fentanyl-laced pills to Reavis.
The case against co-defendant Cameron James Pettit, 30, of West Hollywood, is still “pending,” prosecutors say.
The feds allege Pettit agreed on Sept. 4, 2018, to supply McCormick with 10 oxycodone pills as well as cocaine and the sedative Xanax. When he made the delivery on Sept. 5, Pettit allegedly gave McCormick the counterfeit oxycodone pills that contained fentanyl instead.
Investigators previously said they believe McCormick died after snorting the counterfeit pills.