Ex-Rice football player accused of providing pills that led to another player's death

HOUSTON – A man accused of providing the pills that led to the death of a Rice University football player earlier this year was arrested Thursday, police said.

Stuart Mouchantaf, 25, was charged with delivery of a controlled substance resulting in death', a second-degree felony. Mouchantaf is a former member of the football team and a Rice University graduate. If convicted, he could face five years to life in prison.

The criminal charge is in connection with the March 2 death of 21-year-old Blain Padgett.

A Friday morning court appearance revealed that shortly after Padgett's death, Mouchantaf left the country on a one-way plane ticket to Lebanon. The criminal complaint stated that Mouchantaf has family there.

At some point, the Rice Univesity graduate returned and began working for Trader Joe's, a supermarket.

Investigators said Padgett, a defensive lineman for the Owls, was found dead in his apartment on March 2, 2018, and was discovered by teammates after he missed a morning practice.

An autopsy found that Padgett died from the toxic effects of carfentanil, an elephant tranquilizer that is an analog of the powerful opioid fentanyl.

Investigators said that Padgett bought pills from Mouchantaf, who is known as “Mooch,” which he thought contained hydrocodone. However, the pills were counterfeit, and actually contained carfentanil.

Prosecutors said a lethal dose of carfentanil is so small that it can’t be seen by the human eye.

Mouchantaf is being held on $250,000 bond. His next court date is Monday in 180th District Court.