State’s First Fentanyl Murder Conviction Handed Down in Placer County

A Placer County jury convicted 21-year-old Nathaniel Cabacungan of second-degree murder on Friday for selling the fentanyl that killed a 15-year-old girl.  

This is the state’s first murder conviction stemming from fentanyl distribution, according to the Placer County District Attorney’s Office. The defendant is facing up to 15 years in prison. 

The rise in fentanyl fatalities has caused a number of district attorneys to pursue harsher penalties for dealers. In 2021, DAs in Riverside, Orange and Kern announced they would begin aggressively pursuing homicide charges against fentanyl dealers whose drugs cause a person’s death. Last year, Santa Clara County prosecutors filed the first fentanyl murder charges in the state following the death of a 12-year-old girl. 

“The murder conviction today demonstrates that our office remains committed to holding dealers of deadly fentanyl accountable for the lives they take," Placer County DA Morgan Gire said Friday.  

Read more about the Placer County DA’s efforts to hold drug dealers accountable here.