28-year-old Ryuji Kawashima pled guilty as charged to Controlled Substances Homicide for the overdose death of his 26-year-old friend on June 12, 2020. The victim died after taking what he thought was a Percocet pill but turned out to be fentanyl. Investigators say the victim purchased pills from the suspect the night he died. The victim and his girlfriend both consumed the pills, yet only the victim’s pill had a fatal dose of fentanyl.
“This case shows you how dangerous illegal fentanyl-laced drugs are,” warned Captain Shelby Shearer. “The victim purchased at least two pills. He took one and his girlfriend took the other, and he died. You must assume that unless you get your pain medication from a pharmacy, it’s likely laced with fentanyl, and that can be deadly.”
Over nearly eight months, Bellevue detectives investigated this alleged drug dealer. Ultimately, on March 17, 2021, detectives had enough evidence for probable cause to arrest the suspect on investigation of Controlled Substances Homicide. Officers recovered ten suspected fentanyl-laced Percocet M30 pills after his arrest. The suspect says he knew the victim because they had played football together for four years in Bellevue. The charges alleged the suspect kept selling fentanyl-laced pills even after his friend’s overdose death.
“Controlled Substances Homicide cases are incredibly time-consuming and difficult to prove,” Shearer stated. “You must prove the victim got the drugs from the suspect and that it was those drugs that killed them. This successful prosecution is a credit to the Bellevue police patrol officers who initially investigated and our detectives who were able to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Bellevue detectives worked closely with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to ensure the successful prosecution. Kawashima pled guilty to Controlled Substances Homicide.
This is the first Controlled Substances Homicide guilty plea in King County in the last 18 years.