Man indicted for murder after allegedly selling fake Xanax to Broward woman who overdosed on fentanyl

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – A grand jury indicted a man on first degree murder charges for allegedly selling fake prescription drugs to a Hollywood woman.

Melissa Hernandez was 21 years old when she lost her life in Sept. 2021.

Frank Hernandez said his daughter, Melissa, died after accidentally taking fentanyl.

“She was a very good student. She really liked drawing and art. She was really popular in high school,” Hernandez said.

Hollywood police said she bought what she thought was Xanax from a drug dealer. But the medical examiner’s report said the 21-year-old died from an accidental overdose of fentanyl.

A grand jury has indicted David Brown on first degree murder charges in her case.

“It’s very unique to keep going and get justice for this family this is all on the detectives they continued on this case,” said Deanna Bettineschi, Hollywood Police Department Public Information Officer.

In Feb. 2021, when Local 10 News first brought you this story, we spoke with the special agent in charge of the Miami field office of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

“This is dangerous,” said Deanne Reuter, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Miami Field Division.

In 2021, agents across the U.S. seized 20 million fake pills that are often laced with fentanyl. They look like real prescriptions.

“Many of them are pressed to look exactly like legitimate prescriptions. Xanax, Adderall, oxycodone. Those are the big ones,” Reuter said.

Agents with the DEA said the chemicals used to make fentanyl come from China or India and get sent to Mexico where they are pressed into pills and smuggled across the border. In the case of Melissa Hernandez, they caused her death.

“We are going to be holding these drug dealers responsible,” said Bettineschi.

For more information about warning signs of fentanyl addiction, common emoji used as codes for drugs, and how to talk to your family, click here.

About the Author:

Reporter Rosh Lowe has been covering news for nearly two decades in South Florida. He joined Local 10 in 2021.