Ohio law enforcement agencies have revealed a huge drugs bust in which 45 pounds of suspected fentanyl, an addictive opioid more dangerous than heroin, three pounds of suspected methamphetamine, a pound of suspected heroin, three firearms and over $30,000 in cash were seized in Montgomery County, Ohio during the week beginning Oct. 21, according to a statement Tuesday by Ohio’s Regional Agencies Narcotics & Gun Enforcement Task Force.
“Twenty kilograms of fentanyl is enough to kill the entire population of Ohio, many times over,” said Vance Callender, Homeland Security Investigations special agent in charge for Michigan and Ohio.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost described the quantity of fentanyl involved in the case as amounting “to chemical warfare and a weapon of mass destruction,” and thanked all of the officers and agencies involved.
The operation was carried out in partnership with the FBI, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Ohio Attorney General’s Office, the task force said, and authorities hailed the successful operation for keeping the massive shipment of the drug off the streets.
“The quantity of fentanyl in this case amounts to chemical warfare and a weapon of mass destruction,” said Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.
Shamar Davis, 31, Anthony Franklin, 30, and Grady Jackson, 37, of Dayton, Ohio were arrested in the operation on suspicion of narcotics trafficking. They face charges of possession with intent to distribute 400 or more grams of fentanyl, as well as felony possession of a firearm, the task force statement said, NBC News reported.
According to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control, two out of three overdose deaths in America involve an opioid, and the number of opioid-related deaths has increased nearly six times in the two decades to 2019.
In 2017 alone, opioid overdoses killed over 47,000 people in the US.
Fentanyl, a pharmaceutical opioid originally developed to treat cancer, can be up to 100 times stronger than morphine and is at the forefront of the nation’s opioid epidemic. Illegally made fentanyl is often added to drugs like heroin to increase their potency but without the user’s knowledge, elevating the risk of overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.