KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
June 22, 2019
By Jennifer Miko
A federal grand jury indicted Stuart Mouchantaf, 26, in connection with the death of Rice University star football player Blain Padgett last spring.
Stuart Mouchantaf; Photo: Houston Police Department
On Thursday, a federal grand jury returned the three-count indictment against Mouchantaf "alleging he conspired to distribute and possessed with intent to distribute a powerful opioid analogue known as carfentanil." If convicted of one or all three counts, Mouchantaf could be sentenced to a maximum 40-years-to-life, and be fined $1-2 million.
Mouchantaf allegedly sold Padgett opiods for shoulder pain. Authorities reported Mouchantaf had the lethal drug carfentanil in his possession on the Rice University campus the day before Padgett died.
On March 2, 2018, Padgett’s university teammates went to his room after he had missed the morning’s workout. The 23-year-old was unresponsive in his bed.
Last June, the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office determined Padgett died in his sleep. The cause of his death was an overdose from carfentanil.
The source of the drug was traced to a pill given to him by Mouchantaf. The Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas reported in a statement: "The Houston Police Department and the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Drug Enforcement Administration."
The Case Against Mouchantaf
Paperwork filed with the Harris County District Clerk’s office last October said Mouchantaf “unlawfully, knowingly delivered by actual transfer to Blain Padgett a controlled substance, namely carfentanil, weighing by aggregate weight, including any adulterants and dilutants, more than 1 gram and less than 4 grams.”
When Mouchantaf was originally charged last fall, he was considered a flight risk and his bond was set at $250,000. At that time, police discovered Mouchantaf had purchased a one-way ticket to Lebanon, where he has family. Mouchantaf was ordered to surrender his passport and also wear a GPS ankle monitor.
Mouchantaf was taken into custody again Thursday and appeared in federal court yesterday. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jason Corley and Robert Stabe are prosecuting the case.
Warnings about Carfentanil
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reports carfentanil is a new harmful factor in the country’s opiod crisis. Authorities warn that carfentanil is a “synthetic opioid approximately 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl.”
The drug is commonly used in zoos to tranquilize elephants and other large mammals and not approved for human use.
Carfentanil can come in several different forms: powder, blotter paper, tablets, patch, and spray. The drug poses a threat to the public and first responders and law enforcement agents because some forms of carfentanil can be absorbed through the skin or be accidentally inhaled.
“The presence of carfentanil in illicit U.S. drug markets is cause for concern, as the relative strength of this drug could lead to an increase in overdoses and overdose-related deaths, even among opioid-tolerant users,” reports the DEA.
Football Careers Ended
Padgett, from Sour Lake, TX, was a Defensive MVP at Hardin Jefferson High School. He started at Rice in 2015 where he impressed the coaches and became an impressive force on the team's defensive front. His football career was promising.
The Rice Owls football roster reports Mouchantaf was a three-year starter for Cinco Ranch High School. The defensive tackle graduated in 2011 and played for Blinn Junior College. He signed with Rice in 2012 and had one start that season. The next year, Mouchnataf was a key player on the Owl's front line until he was sidelined with a knee injury. The defensive lineman was redshirted in 2014.
Authorities suggest if you think you or someone you know has been affected by any narcotics Mouchantaf distributed, please contact the Houston Police Department at 713-308-3300.