Migrant found unresponsive outside Chicago police station died from an overdose: medical examiner

Migrants living outside the 18th District police station on the Near North Side in November 2023. | Provided

CHICAGO — The Cook County medical examiner’s office has released autopsy results for a Venezuelan migrant who died after being found unresponsive with another migrant outside the Near North District police station in November.

Luis Alfredo Sara Reales, 26, died from a fentanyl overdose, according to the medical examiner’s office, which ruled his death an accident. He died less than a week after arriving in Chicago.

At the time of his death, more than 100 migrants were living at the Near North (18th) District station at 1160 North Larrabee, mostly in tents in front of the building.

Around 9 a.m. on November 4, Sara Reales and another 27-year-old migrant were found unresponsive inside one of the tents, officials said. Both were taken by ambulance to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Sara Reales died. The other man, who barely survived, remained hospitalized for days.

Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, is commonly mixed with street drugs like cocaine and heroin as the narcotics make their way through distribution.

Used legitimately to treat extreme pain, particularly during advanced-stage cancer, it is 50 times more powerful than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. A tiny amount of fentanyl mixed into an illicit drug dose can be fatal.

Sara Reales is the second migrant known to have died from accidental fentanyl overdoses.

Last month, the medical examiner determined that a 23-year-old Venezuelan migrant who died at one of Chicago’s migrant shelters in June was killed by a deadly mix of cocaine and fentanyl.

Luis Alberto Aguilar Peres, 23, was the first migrant known to have died in Chicago since large numbers of South Americans, primarily Venezuelans, began arriving here in August 2022.

He was pronounced dead shortly after being found unresponsive at the former Wadsworth Elementary School, 6420 South University, on June 2.

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About Tim Hecke 329 Articles
Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. His email address is tim@cwbchicago.com