Las Vegas murder charge in teen fentanyl death

The Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

An alleged drug dealer is facing a murder charge in the fentanyl overdose death of a teenager in south Las Vegas, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.

Roy Elkhoury, 27, was booked last month into the Clark County Detention Center on one count each of second-degree murder and a drug-related charge, according to jail logs.

Bail was set at $100,000 during June 1 hearing, according to court records.

Police alleged that Elkhoury sold a unidentified 16-year-old girl fentanyl-laced pills on March 4, while she was staying the night at a friend’s apartment.

She texted Elkhoury and had him deliver purported Percocet pills to the apartment complex, along with Xanax tablets for her friend, police said.

Early the next morning, the friend’s father arrived home to find the teenager overdosing in his living room, police said. His daughter had been sleeping in her bedroom.

The girl, who is expected to be identified by the Clark County coroner’s office, later died at St. Rose Dominican Hospital, Siena Campus, police said.

A preliminary toxicology report showed that the teenager had 44 nanograms of fentanyl in her body, according to police. A Clark County coroner’s office examiner has testified that the drug can be fatal in much lower doses.

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid which authorities say is increasingly being pressed into counterfeit prescription pills and sold to unsuspecting victims, is described as being many times stronger than morphine.

Synthetic opioids contributed to two-thirds of the roughly 107,000 overdose deaths in 2021 in the U.S., which recorded an all time high total number, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

Out of the 801 overdose deaths in Clark County last year, 227 were due to fentanyl, according to Metro numbers, which show that 10 people under age 18 were killed by the drug.

To combat the rise, in 2021 Metro established a task force that investigates overdose deaths, and is increasingly pursuing murder cases against alleged dealers.

Detectives spoke to Elkhoury after his arrest, and he said that he knew the Percocet pills he was accused of selling contained fentanyl, but that so did his buyers, according to his arrest report.

He said he offered the teenage victim Narcan, the brand name of naloxone, which serves as an antidote to reverse opioid overdoses, the report stated.

The victim’s friend told police that the dealer had offered them the Narcan when he showed up to the complex to sell the pills, police said.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com. Follow @rickytwrites on Twitter.