Investigation underway after two maintenance workers found dead in Downtown Los Angeles after being exposed to fentanyl

HAZMAT crews were amongst the large showing of law enforcement officials in Downtown Los Angeles Thursday afternoon after a pair of maintenance workers were found dead inside of a high rise apartment building after reportedly being exposed to fentanyl. 

Authorities have identified the victims as Los Angeles resident John Black, 52-years-old, and 31-year-old Pasadena resident Luis Garcia. 

After neither of the men returned home from work Wednesday evening, their families contacted the building’s manager to report that they were missing. 

It was then that the two were found unresponsive inside of a unit they were performing maintenance on.

Investigators disclosed that they also discovered fentanyl in the immediate area where the bodies were found. 

This news comes just over a week after three men were found dead in a separate high rise apartment building in Downtown Los Angeles after also being exposed to fentanyl, and days after more than $3 million worth of fentanyl laced pills were seized in Huntington Park

Just last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 107,000 deaths from overdoses in 2021 alone, representing a more than 15% increase from the year prior. 

“Most, if not many people, are aware that they’re taking fentanyl,” said Dr. Brian Couey with the Betty Ford Center. “The problem is, they don’t know how much is in what they’re taking.”

He continued to note how the increase in overdose deaths can partly be attributed to the coronavirus pandemic, which made it easier for fentanyl to get imported into the United States. 

“Cartels prefer to produce synthetics, which are much more concentrated and much easier to import into the country,” he continued. “You have an infrastructure of very lethal and dangerous drugs coming in, and you have people who aren’t getting access to care and are under the kind of stresses that are going to drive them to misuse substances.”

He hopes that providing people with better access to resources like treatment programs can provide the necessary push towards fighting the issue.

Residents in the area are rightfully concerned. 

“Now we have fentanyl killing people in seconds? That’s pretty scary,” said one man. 

Another woman is just hopeful that the federal government can step in and use their power to raise awareness on the growing problem.

“There’s a lot of things that we can do federally. Widely known programs and awareness, stuff like that,” she said.

Authorities continued their investigation throughout Friday as they worked to determine the source of the fentanyl. 

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