VALLEY CENTER, Calif. (KGTV) - Family members are mourning the loss of Roland Escarcega Jr., a father of five and an apparent victim of those deadly blue pills.
When Shonta Chaloux last saw his cousin, Escarcega was his usual jovial self.
"We were joking. I gave him a hard time, and he gave me a hard time," said Chaloux.
Two months later, Chaloux got the news.
"Devastated, sad ... it was a family member who found him at his home," said Chaloux.
Escarcega, 39, was found dead in his bed in late July at his home on the San Pasqual Indian Reservation after Escarcega, who worked for the tribe's water department, hadn't shown up for work. Chaloux doesn't know all the details, but says his cousin is one of the victims of the deadly pills mentioned in a sheriff's department warning.
"Assuming whoever went into his room and what was recovered matches what was found in the other victim's homes," said Chaloux.
In late July, deputies said blue counterfeit Oxycodone pills, likely laced with Fentanyl, caused four overdose deaths in 36 hours. Chaloux says his cousin was among those who died during those 36 hours. Chaloux did not know his cousin was taking painkillers or who may have supplied them.
"Whoever cut those pills, they deserve to go to prison. They are killing people," said Chaloux.
Chaloux is hoping by sharing Escarcega's story, he can help other families.
"Listen to family members if they are struggling and see what they're struggling with," said Chaloux.
For those who turn to the streets for pain relief, he has this message.
"Don't do it. You're playing Russian Roulette with your own life," said Chaloux.
Escarcega's funeral will be held Tuesday.
When 10news asked the sheriff's department about arrests in the case, a spokesperson said in a statement, "Due to the sensitive nature of the investigation, they aren't releasing any information at this time. As soon as we have something to release, we will let you know."