Seven months after a promising defensive lineman failed to turn up to practice and was found dead by his concerned teammates, a former player from his college team has been arrested.
On Friday, one-time Rice University football player Stuart “Mooch” Mouchantaf was charged with supplying 21-year-old Blain Padgett pills containing an opioid 10,000 times more powerful than morphine.
The 25-year-old ex-player was allegedly preparing to flee the country before officers took him into custody on Thursday, ABC 13 reports.
The arrest follows the March overdose death of teammate Padgett. The college athlete allegedly believed he was buying Hydrocodone, a prescription narcotic painkiller, from Mouchantaf, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement Friday.
Instead, the footballer took pills that contained Carfentanil — an opioid whose legal amount is reportedly “invisible to the human eye” and was originally intended to be an elephant tranquilizer, the D.A. alleges.
In June, three months after his passing, the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office determined that the toxic effects of Carfentanil — which reportedly causes the brain to stop breathing — caused Padgett to die in his sleep, ABC 13 reports.
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Padgett’s parents, Mical and Windi, believed their son knew better than to take drugs from someone else.
“He knew that he should not have been taking it, but he did so,” Mical told the outlet, noting that the poor decision “cost him his life.”
“I know if he was here, he would say, ‘Hey, I take responsibility for this,’” Mical continued.
Windi added: “Blain knew about choices like drinking and driving and knew about choices, but I think that this is something that is fairly new, at least it’s new to us, that you don’t take anything from anyone unless a doctor has prescribed it for you, period.”
The young men played together in 2015 when Mouchantaf was a redshirt senior and Padgett was a freshman, reports USA Today. During his three seasons at Rice University, Mouchantaf totaled 51 tackles. Meanwhile, Padgett was considered “a key player” with a “commanding presence” for the team’s defensive front-line.
Following Mouchantaf arrest, Rice University released a statement to the news channel, thanking authorities for their work on the case.
“We’re deeply saddened to hear about the latest developments in the investigation in the death of Blain Padgett, whose family continues to be foremost in our thoughts,” they wrote. “We want to thank the Houston Police Department investigators assigned to this case for their hard work in the wake of this tragedy. In light of the fact that charges have just been filed, any further comment would be inappropriate at this time.”
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After Mouchantaf was taken into custody and questioned on Thursday, a judge set his bond at $ 250,000 once police discovered that he had purchased a one-way ticket to Lebanon.
According to ABC 13, Mouchantaf — who has family in the country and is now considered a flight risk — must wear an ankle monitor and give up his U.S. passport.
The former player has been charged with delivery of a controlled substance causing death and the second-degree felony could result in a prison sentence of anywhere from five to 99 years if Mouchantaf is found guilty, the D.A. said.
At this time, it is not clear if he has retained legal counsel. He is due to appear in court on Monday.
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