The Placer County District Attorney has also partnered with the Placer County Treasurer-Tax Collector and Placer County Document Solutions to print inserts to go into 175,000 tax bills in order to take the message about the dangers of fentanyl directly to homeowners in the county. Photos submitted

State’s first fentanyl murder conviction follows the death of a 15-year-old Roseville girl

According to the Placer County District Attorney’s Office, fentanyl is now the number one killer of 18 to 45 year olds, surpassing car accidents and suicides.  Placer County saw a staggering 450 percent increase in fentanyl deaths from 2019 to 2021. Since taking office in 2020, PCDA Morgan Gire has made the fighting fentanyl crisis one his office’s priorities.

A North State district attorney strikes back against fentanyl dealers with the state’s first murder conviction delivered to a fentanyl dealer for his role in the death of 15-year-old Roseville girl. And this may be just the first in a series of murder convictions of fentanyl dealers in Placer County.

The PCDAO straight up warns druggies — “Selling fentanyl, if it results in a death, may result in a murder charge in our county. We have a simple message to dealers and distributers in our region — Placer County is not open for their business.”

And today, that promised prosecution drew the first blood against a fentanyl dealer in state history as the Placer County District Attorney’s Office announced the conviction of 21-year-old Nathaniel Cabacungan on second-degree murder and other charges in the fentanyl death of a 15-year-old girl from the Roseville area reported in June 2022.

Cabacungan was arrested after an investigation by the Placer Special Investigations Unit, a collaborative effort by the California Department of Justice, Placer County Sheriff’s Office, Roseville Police Department, Rocklin Police Department, Auburn Police Department, the Placer County Probation Department and the Placer County District Attorney’s Office.

The PCDAO filed a criminal complaint against Cabacungan on charges of murder, furnishing a controlled substance to a minor and meeting with a minor for the purpose of engaging in lewd behavior as it relates to the fentanyl death of a 15-year-old Roseville area girl reported on June 21, 2022. The criminal complaint also charged that Cabacungan possessed and transported fentanyl pressed into pills in the form of M30 (Percocet) pills for the purposes of sale.

The defendant appeared in Placer County Superior Court this morning where the murder conviction was secured by the Placer County District Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Unit with the direct support of the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. The defendant is set to be sentenced at 3 p.m. Aug. 16, 2023, in Department 42 at the Santucci Justice Center in Roseville. Aggressive prosecution is one of the many pillars of Placer County’s fight against the fentanyl crisis.

“Placer County has been tragically affected by the national fentanyl epidemic,” said Morgan Gire, Placer County District Attorney.  “We are committed to combatting this crisis with continued education and awareness efforts, extensive prevention campaigns, and aggressive prosecution of those who seek to peddle this deadly drug in our community.”

The Placer County District Attorney’s Office has filed three criminal complaints against fentanyl dealers whose sales resulted in a death.

  • 20-year-old Carson David Schewe is currently charged with murder and possession of a controlled substance for sale, as it related to a local fentanyl-related death. This is the first time a defendant in Placer County has been charged with murder for a fentanyl-related death.
  • 21-year-old Nathaniel Cabacungan is convicted of murder in the death of a 15-year-old girl.
  • The Placer County District Attorney’s Office amended the criminal complaint against 24-year-old Arron Dare to add the charge of murder as it relates to a local Auburn area fentanyl death.

Learn more at www.placer.ca.gov/fightingfentanyl.