Federal drug agents arrested alleged narcotics traffickers in Toledo, OH, after suspects attempted to mail three pounds of fentanyl to Texas.
Officers with the Toledo Bulk Cash Smuggling Task Force intercepted a package Monday heading for Texas, containing more than two pounds of powder a field test identified as fentanyl, a synthetic opioid roughly 30 to 50 times more powerful than pure heroin. Officials subsequently obtained a search warrant for a Red Roof Inn, where they suspected the alleged traffickers were staying. Authorities found another pound of fentanyl and more than $8,000 in cash, The Washington Times reported.
Authorities are charging 32-year-old Anthony Robinson, 30-year-old Barbera Wilson and 29-year-old Darrius Lewis with conspiracy possession with intent to distribute controlled substances.
“The fentanyl seized last night is enough to kill everyone in Toledo several times over,” Northern District of Ohio U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said, according to The Washington Times. “This is a great example of law enforcement working together to make our community safer.”
Opioids are killing a record number of people in Ohio, which now has the second highest death rate from drug overdoses in the U.S. behind only West Virginia.
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The state lost 4,329 residents to drug overdoses in 2016 — a 24 percent increase over 2015 — due to the worsening opioid epidemic spreading death throughout the country. Nearly 40 per 100,000 people in the state now die from drug-related overdoses in Ohio.
“We’ve got a big problem in Ohio,” Dublin Police Chief Heinz von Eckartsberg recently told The Columbus Dispatch. “Fentanyl is powerful and more intense. People are putting stuff in their veins that’s going to kill them.”
The number of opioid deaths would be much higher without the presence of the overdose reversal drug naloxone or Narcan, officials said. Ohio first responders administered roughly 43,000 doses of naloxone in 2016.
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