Police are warning the notoriously violent MS-13 gang is infiltrating communities ravaged by opioid abuse in Ohio to spread “heavily laced heroin.”
Sheriff Charles Reader posted a statement on Facebook Monday saying “limited intelligence” gathered in recent drug related investigations suggests MS-13 gang members plan to travel to Pike County, Ohio, this weekend to distribute potentially lethal batches of heroin. Members of the Konvicted Family gang may also be heading to the region, with the intention of silencing people who are cooperating with local authorities, reports WCMH.
The gangs allegedly plan to release concentrated doses of heroin cut with unknown chemicals. The region is already suffering rising death rates from the influx of fentanyl and carfentanil, synthetic opioids cut into heroin that are often fatal.
“MS-13, an International Criminal Gang and or Konvicted Family gang members are allegedly coming into Pike County this weekend,” Reader said in the Facebook post. “Possibly planning on ‘taking out’ believed snitches and spread ‘HOTSHOTS’ of heavily laced Heroin into the area that could cause an extremely large amount of overdoses in Pike County and surrounding counties.”
Residents of Pike County are shaken by the warning from police. Authorities are asking everyone to stay vigilant and report any unusual activity to the police immediately. Many residents say they fear raising their children in the area amid the rising threat drugs pose to the community.
“Just everything is getting so bad with drugs,” an unidentified woman raising a daughter in Pike County told WCMH. “I just want to take her away and hibernate her. It’s everywhere. Even these little towns, it’s just bad.”
Ohio is being hit particularly hard by the national opioid epidemic, which claimed a record 33,000 lives in the U.S. in 2015. The opioid death rate in the state spiked 13 percent between 2014 and 2015, among the largest increases in the country. Heroin deaths increased by nearly 20 percent over the same period, claiming 1,444 lives.
Officials in Ohio say opioids are also the main driver of a 19 percent spike in the number of kids removed from parental custody to foster care since 2010.
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