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A suspect believed to be connected to a group of spring breakers who overdosed on cocaine laced with fentanyl, has been named as 21-year-old Axel Giovany Casseus
A suspect believed to be connected to a group of spring breakers who overdosed on cocaine laced with fentanyl, has been named as 21-year-old Axel Giovany Casseus.
Casseus was arrested on Friday night in Wilton Manors, Florida as he allegedly sold cocaine to an undercover officer.
He was charged with one felony count of trafficking cocaine of less than 200 grams and is being held at the Broward Main Jail, with bail set at $50,000, according to The Sun Sentinel.
Police believe he is connected to six West Point cadets who were hospitalized Thursday after overdosing on the drug. At least two of the students were football players at the military academy, located in New York.
Detectives announced late Friday night, March 11, 2022 that they had arrested a suspect in connection to seven overdoses of fentanyl-laced cocaine at a home in Broward County.He was identified on Saturday as 21-year-old Axel Giovany Casseus
Casseus is pictured during his bond hearing on Saturday. He is being held at the Broward Main Jail, with bail set at $50,000, according to online booking records
During Casseus’ bond hearing Saturday, authorities identified him as the drug dealer who sold the fentanyl-laced cocaine to the students.
Authorities allege Casseus sold 43 grams of cocaine Friday to an undercover detective, who followed him back to a hotel, according to WPLG.
A seventh individual, only identified as a woman, was later taken to the hospital and treated, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
It is unclear if she suffered an overdose or what condition she is in. It is also unknown if she attended West Point with the other patients.
Local10 helicopter footage shows paramedics trying to revive six West Point Academy football players on spring break who overdosed on fentanyl-laced cocaine in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday
Paramedics who responded to the scene at a vacation home used opioid-overdose-reversing drug naloxone – also known as Narcan – on the patients
The group of spring breakers overdosed on cocaine laced with fentanyl on Thursday night. PIctured, one of those who overdosed being stretchered away to a waiting ambulance
The victims included West Point cadets, according to the U.S. Military Academy. Three still remained hospitalized on Friday – including two whose condition were critical condition
One of the victims who overdosed is stretchered away to a waiting ambulance on Thursday
Late on Friday, only three remained in the hospital. Two were in critical condition and on ventilators. The other patient is said to be in stable condition.
Two of the cadets had not ingested the drugs but were overcome by the effects of fentanyl when they attempted to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on their sickened friends
The students were staying in a short-term vacation rental home listed on VRBO for $360 per night. The 1,596-square-foot home features three bedrooms and two bathrooms, as well as a large backyard with a private pool, according to the listing, and is a 15-minute walk to the beach.
The home was vacated of the renters by Friday evening, according to reports. It remains unclear if the suspect was staying at the rental property with the spring breakers.
DailyMail.com reached to the U.S. Army Academy at West Point and was told by a representative that the prestigious military college was ‘aware’ of the incident in Florida involving its students.
‘The U.S. Military Academy is aware of the situation involving West Point cadets, which occurred Thursday night in Wilton Manors, FL,’ a West Point spokesperson said in an email. ‘The incident is currently under investigation and no other details are available at this time.’
Six spring breakers staying in a rental property listed on VRBO for $360 per night were hospitalized after overdosing on cocaine laced with fentanyl Thursday. As of late Friday, only three remained in the hospital. Two were in critical condition and on ventilators. The other patient is said to be in stable condition. The group was staying in a three bedroom, two bathroom home with a private pool (pictured) located in Wilton Manors, Florida
Officials say four college students staying at a vacation rental home in Wilton Manors ingested the drug and went into cardiac arrest, and their two friends fell ill after coming into contact with the fentanyl by performing CPR on the patients
A first responder in a HAZMAT suit is seen working at the scene of the mass overdose in Wilton Manors on Thursday night
The six patients are college students who traveled to Fort Lauderdale for spring break
The overdosed vacationers were treated with nalaxone at the scene before being taken to a hospital, where one of them was listed in critical condition
Paramedics are seen removing one of the overdoses college kids from the home on Thursday
What is fentanyl and why is it so dangerous?
Fentanyl was originally developed in Belgium in the 1950s to aid cancer patients with their pain management.
Given its extreme potency it has become popular amongst recreational drug users.
Overdose deaths linked to synthetic opioids like fentanyl jumped from nearly 10,000 in 2015 to nearly 20,000 in 2016 – surpassing common opioid painkillers and heroin for the first time.
And drug overdoses killed more than 72,000 people in the US in 2017 – a record driven by fentanyl.
It is often added to heroin because it creates the same high as the drug, with the effects biologically identical. But it can be up to 50 times more potent than heroin, according to officials in the US.
In America, fentanyl is classified as a schedule II drug – indicating it has a strong potential to be abused and can create psychological and physical dependence.
News helicopter video shows paramedics converging on the front yard of the short-term vacation rental home on NW 29th Court in Wilton Manors, where multiple people were found in cardiac arrest at 5pm on Thursday.
Footage from the scene shows first responders administering first aid and placing several individuals onto stretchers.
Fort Lauderdale Fire Department Battalion Chief Steve Gollan told Local10 that two of the people who overdosed were sickened because they tried to perform CPR on the initial four overdose victims. He said the opioid-overdose-reversing drug naloxone, which is sold under the brand name Narcan, was administered to revive the victims.
Neighbors described seeing the spring breakers being carried out of the rental home crowded with young vacationers.
‘We saw paramedics pulling the kids out of the house, unconscious, just laying them on the grass,’ Dana Fumosa, who lives a few doors down, told NBC6.
Neighborhood resident Cub Larkin, who also witnessed paramedics rescuing the students, said: ‘We view our military at a much higher standard, and it was just completely heartbreaking.’
Four of the patients were taken to Broward Health Medical Center, and the remaining two were transported to Holy Cross Hospital.
‘These are healthy young adults, college students in the prime of their life,’ Gollan said. ‘Getting this drug into their system, it’s unknown what the recovery will be on the critical individual.’
Fentanyl is an unpredictable and powerful synthetic painkiller blamed for driving an increase in fatal drug overdoses. It’s 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine and used to treat severe pain, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says. It also slows a person’s breathing and heart rate.
Gollan said that in the 70 days since January 1, his department has responded to 215 suspected opioid overdoses; almost all of them involved fentanyl. He did not know how many of those died, but said it is a two-year trend that started when the coronavirus pandemic began and has not abated.
Neighbors in Wilton Manors told the Sun-Sentinel that the West Point cadets had been staying at the rental property for several days, and that on Wednesday night police were called for an unspecified reason.
Two local residents said they have repeatedly complained to the managers of the vacation property about excessive noise and rowdy parties.
‘We’ve been hearing over the last couple of days, loud music, gatherings,’ Fumosa told WSVN. ‘It was guys and girls over there. They seemed to be having a good time barbecuing, and they were in the pool.’ It is unclear if she complained about the travelers.
Meanwhile, Florida and Fort Lauderdale are bracing for ‘triple’ the amount of visitors compared to last year as tens of thousands of students prepare to celebrate the first Spring Break in the U.S. free of COVID rules.
Inhabitants of popular vacation spots, including Cancun, Miami, Pensacola, Fort Lauderdale and South Padre Island have to deal with observing never-ending crowds of college students having a good time, often blasting loud music and drinking alcohol from the first week of March until April.
Starting last Saturday and until March 20, many public school districts in Florida, including Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando, Manatee and Sarasota counties – as well as the University of Southern Florida and Tampa – will be on vacation.
That means that an estimated 570,00 students will be on holiday at the same time in the Sunshine State, not to mention all the teachers and staff who will also have the week off, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Last year’s spring break saw about 65,000 passengers fly into Tampa Bay International Airport per day during peak weeks. However, in 2020, the number of spring breakers was ‘dismally low’ in March and April, as there were as few 1,500 people flying in per day.
Wilton Manors police, in wake of the incident, tweeted a warning to spring breakers about the dangers of illicit drugs. Officers also reminded travelers not to mix drugs with alcohol or other forms of drugs.
Many popular springtime vacation spots are expecting at least double-to-triple amounts of spring breakers flying in this year between March and April, as resorts, nightclubs and other businesses are looking forward to recovering from time lost during the last two years due to the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured: A packed beach in Miami on Friday. None of the people pictured were involved in the drugs incident
About 570,000 students will be on holiday in the Sunshine State to party on the beaches as they enjoy their first spring break without any COVID-19 restrictions in place after poor showings in 2020 and 2021. Pictured: Spring breakers relaxing at Miami beach on Friday. None of the people pictured were involved in the drugs incident
A Fort Lauderdale Ocean Rescue lifeguard watches over beachgoers Tuesday during Spring Break as many are expected to pack the city’s beach in the next few weeks. No one pictured was involved in the drugs incident
An empty bottle of tequila lays on the sand, surrounded by people at the beach during spring break in Miami Beach on Friday