Authorities rescued an infant during a raid of a narcotics den in Ohio, arresting three suspected traffickers who risked exposing the baby to fentanyl.
Agents with the Butler County Sheriff’s Office narcotics unit executed a search warrant Friday at an apartment in Trenton, Ohio, discovering 36 grams of the synthetic opioid fentanyl and $9,000 in cash. Officers conducting the search also found a 1-year-old child in the apartment, which they said was used as a hub for trafficking the deadly substance in the region, reports Cincinnati.com.
Fentanyl, a painkiller roughly 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, is blamed as the primary fuel of the current opioid epidemic ravaging the country. Only 2 milligrams of the synthetic opioid can cause an adult to suffer a fatal overdose.
“This was a great investigation that led to ending an illegal drug business,” said Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones, according to Cincinnati.com. “This drug causes deaths every day and these criminals had no problem having an infant near it.”
Authorities arrested 24-year-old Dante Curry, 20-year-old Aaron Morgan and 19-year-old Grisley Mateo Castillio during the raid. Castillio is charged with child endangerment, while Curry and Morgan face felony charges for trafficking and possession of fentanyl. (RELATED: Historic Narcotics Bust Yields Enough Fentanyl To ‘Kill Everyone On The East Coast’)
Officials in Ohio are cracking down on drug dealers trafficking fentanyl with harsher legal penalties as synthetic overdose deaths continue rising.
Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich signed a bill Aug. 1 that reclassifies fentanyl from a Schedule II to a Schedule I substance and makes it a felony for dealing the potent painkiller. Major drug offenders caught selling fentanyl will face mandatory minimum sentences ranging from between three to eight years.
The bill also prevents charges from being combined, meaning a dealer tied to a fentanyl death would face charges for both the fatality and for the initial sale to the victim.
“It ain’t the way it used to be with street drugs,” Kasich previously said, according Cincinnati.com. “You’re playing with the devil.”
Data released by officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on July 11 reveals the majority of opioid-linked deaths throughout the U.S. are now the result of synthetic opioids like fentanyl. The report shows synthetic opioids killed roughly 27,000 people across the U.S. over the 12-month period ending in November 2017, up from roughly 19,413 lives in 2016 and 9,580 lives in 2015.
The sharp increase prompted a Health Alert Network warning from CDC officials advising of the ever-increasing presence of synthetic opioids in the drug supply, including in non-opioid narcotics such as cocaine.
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