Alleged drug dealer appears in court after West Point cadets overdose at spring break party in South Florida – WPLG Local 10

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Janine Stanwood, Anchor/Reporter
Andrea Torres, Digital Journalist
Amanda Batchelor, Managing Editor
Published: March 11, 2022, 11:22 PM
Updated: March 12, 2022, 3:31 PM
Janine Stanwood, Anchor/Reporter
Andrea Torres, Digital Journalist
Amanda Batchelor, Managing Editor
WILTON MANORS, Fla. – Detectives announced late Friday night that they had arrested a suspect in connection to seven overdoses of fentanyl-laced cocaine at a home in Broward County.
He was identified Saturday morning as 21-year-old Axel Giovany Casseus.
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.
According to a Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy who appeared virtually during Casseus’ bond hearing Saturday, authorities identified the drug dealer that sold the drugs to the students and had him deliver 43 grams of cocaine Friday to an undercover detective, who followed him out to a hotel.
The detective paid $1,000 for the drugs, according to Casseus’ arrest report.
After they took him into custody, he admitted to being involved in a “transaction” in Wilton Manors, and authorities also found the phone he used to communicate with them, the deputy said.
According to the judge, Casseus was initially arrested on a charge of trafficking cocaine, as the cocaine the undercover detectives got from him was not laced with fentanyl, although the drugs from Wilton Manors were.
He is being held in jail in lieu of a $50,000 bond.
According to authorities, the group of college students on spring break from New York needed help shortly before 5 p.m. on Thursday, at a short-term rental, at 811 NW 29 Court in Wilton Manors.
Six were hospitalized first and a woman later in the day, according to the Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue Department.
Investigators said only four of the seven who suffered an overdose actually used the drug. Fort Lauderdale Fire Chief Stephen Gollan said the synthetic opioid is so potent that those who administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation also fell ill.
Hazardous materials investigators wore protection to deal with the substance. Fentanyl can cause respiratory distress and death when combined with alcohol or cocaine.
Detectives with the Wilton Manors Police Department and the Broward Sheriff’s Office are working together on the investigation.
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The short-term rental home where 7 people overdosed on Thursday is under scrutiny.
Fort Lauderdale fire rescue is on the scene of what they are calling a mass casualty incident; 6 people have overdosed, according to the fire chief.
Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.
The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.
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