Skip Navigation

Man arrested in overdose deaths of 3 at Pittsburgh after-party

  • The Associated Press
This is the apartment building on the city's South Side where Pittsburgh police say people are dead and others are hospitalized in what they're calling a

 Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo

This is the apartment building on the city's South Side where Pittsburgh police say people are dead and others are hospitalized in what they're calling a "medical situation" Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019 in Pittsburgh. Police said Sunday that all of the victims were wearing orange paper bands on their wrists. Authorities are asking the public for information on a party or event in which guests were given orange wrist bands. Police say they've identified two venues that were using orange wrist bands Saturday night.

This story has been updated with details of the arrest and a witness account.

(Pittsburgh) — A man was arrested Monday on suspicion of providing a white powdery substance tainted with fentanyl at an after-party in Pittsburgh, leading to the death of three men.

Peter Rene Sanchez Montalvo was arrested around 3 a.m. on federal charges of distributing a controlled substance resulting in death and serious bodily injury, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Montalvo, 25, who also goes by the first name Carlos, appeared before a federal magistrate judge in Pittsburgh on Monday afternoon for a brief hearing. He said nothing except to answer the judge’s questions about requesting a lawyer be appointed to represent him, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Federal marshals returned him to jail pending a detention hearing on Sept. 26.

It’s unclear who alerted emergency authorities, who arrived at the apartment building around 4 a.m. Sunday to find several people dead or in need of medical help.

Three men — 32-year-old Rubiel Clemente-Martinez, of Columbus, Ohio; 38-year-old Josue Soberal Serrano, of Carthage, Missouri, and 32-year-old Joel Pecina, 32, of Coraopolis, Pennsylvania — were pronounced dead at the scene.

One man remained hospitalized Monday in critical condition, while others were in stable condition.

Five of the victims were found in an apartment. Clemente-Martinez was found outside an elevator at the building.

All of the victims who overdosed had been at the same bar on Saturday night, where a band was performing, and were invited to the apartment by Montalvo, according to Pittsburgh police.

A witness told investigators that Montalvo was “showing off all the money that he had” and then offered up a box of what the witness believed was cocaine, according to a criminal complaint.

The witness said Montalvo went around the room offering the drugs on a knife for partygoers to sniff, according to the complaint. The witness refused, a fight ensued, and the witness fled, the complaint says.

The medical examiner’s office has initially determined the powder contained the powerful opioid fentanyl, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.


An earlier version of this story appears below.

(Pittsburgh) — Three people died and four others were hospitalized early Sunday in what police said appeared to be a mass drug overdose.

The victims, all men, appear to have taken narcotics at the same time and in the same place in an apartment on Pittsburgh’s South Side, authorities said. It wasn’t immediately clear which drug or combination of drugs was involved. Investigators were interviewing survivors at the hospital.

All of the victims were wearing orange paper bands on their wrists. Police determined the victims initially went to a venue together, then headed to the apartment where they overdosed.

“To be clear, this was not a case of a tainted drug being passed around or distributed in large volume at a large venue which could have affected even more people. It appears to have been isolated to a single location,” the Pittsburgh Department of Public Safety said in a statement. “However, police are concerned about a tainted, potentially deadly batch of drugs in the community.”

Five of the victims were found in an apartment, one in an elevator outside the apartment and one on the street. One of the hospitalized victims was listed in critical condition, while the other three were upgraded to stable.

The apartment building said the victims were not tenants of the building but knew someone who lived there.

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Up Next
Regional & State News

‘This year is about moving forward’: Two years after Maria, Puerto Rican community sends a message in Philly