A 19-year-old man and a teen boy are facing charges after two girls overdosed at Wakefield High School last week.
Police and medics responded to the school just before 11:45 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 27 for a report of a critical overdose. A student in the school clinic was going in and out of consciousness and Narcan was administered ahead of the arrival of first responders, according to scanner traffic.
Arlington County police said today that the overdose patient was a teen girl, who was transported to a local hospital along with a second overdose patient, also a teen girl. Both “have since recovered,” ACPD said in a press release.
An investigation into the overdose led police to arrest Walter Zelaya Padilla, a 19-year-old Fairfax resident, and a teen boy who lives in Arlington. They’re facing a battery of charges, with police saying that Padilla supplied fentanyl to the teen, who then gave or sold it to the victims.
The drug distribution happened within a school zone, APCD said.
The arrests come as Arlington County tries to combat a crisis of teen opioid abuse. While overdoses in general are trending down this year in Arlington, incidents of teen overdoses have prompted calls to action by parents and local officials.
In January, 14-year-old Sergio Flores died after overdosing in a Wakefield High School bathroom. In March, several Washington-Liberty High School students overdosed in the Ballston mall parking garage. Last month, another Wakefield student was found dead at an apartment building in what one elected official and a local advocacy group described as an overdose, though an official cause of death has yet to be determined.
If the student’s death last month is confirmed as an overdose, it would be at least the 11th reported juvenile overdose in Arlington County — fatal and non-fatal — so far this year, factoring the two last week and official numbers provided to ARLnow by the county earlier in September.
More on the drug arrests, below, via an ACPD press release.
The Arlington County Police Department’s Organized Crime Section is announcing two arrests following an investigation into fentanyl overdoses. Walter Zelaya Padilla, 19, of Fairfax, VA is charged with Distribution of Fentanyl to a Person Under the Age of 18, Distribution of Narcotics in a School Zone, Conspiracy to Distribute Narcotics (Fentanyl), and Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor (x3). He is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility. Additionally, a juvenile male, of Arlington, VA is charged with Distribution of Fentanyl, Distribution of Narcotics (Fentanyl) in a School Zone, and Conspiracy to Distribute Narcotics (Fentanyl). Additional information regarding the juvenile suspect is restricted from release in accordance with Virginia Code.
At approximately 11:45 a.m. on September 27, 2023, police were dispatched to Wakefield High School, located in the 1300 block of S. Dinwiddie Street, for the report of an overdose. Upon arrival, officers located two female juveniles who were suffering from an apparent fentanyl overdose. One victim was given a dose of Narcan, and both were transported to an area hospital and have since recovered.
During the course of the comprehensive investigation, detectives assigned to the Organized Crime Section identified Walter Zelaya Padilla as the individual suspected of supplying the controlled substances to the arrested juvenile, who in turn, supplied the victims.
The Arlington County Police Department remains committed to thoroughly investigating narcotics incidents and holding accountable those who traffic dangerous and deadly narcotics into our community. The department’s efforts are supported by the involvement of the community and anyone with information about narcotics activity in Arlington County is encourage to report information for investigation by using our Confidential Drug Activity form.
This remains an active criminal investigation and anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s tip line at 703-228-4180 or [email protected] or anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, there are numerous resources available through the Arlington Addiction Recovery Initiative. For additional community resources and contact information, visit our website.
Jo DeVoe contributed to this report
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100% of all proceeds go towards helping Arlington County youth.
For more information, please visit the Arlington Optimists website at https://optimistclubofarlingtonva.org/.
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