DEA Agent: South Mississippi leads state in fentanyl overdoses
SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - South Mississippi leads the state in fentanyl overdoses, according to a DEA agent. This reality was heightened following drug raids at two homes in Jackson County that ended in multiple arrests Wednesday afternoon.
Gulfport DEA Agent Chris Bell said that it was a joint investigation with the DEA, Homeland Security, FBI and several local law enforcement agencies. He said more than 40 law enforcement officers responded to the raids.
Two federal search warrants were issued at a home on Rose Drive in Moss Point, and another on Red Bluff Road in north Pascagoula.
The raid in Moss Point ended with officers confiscating several bags of pills, along with two pill presses. One person was arrested at the Rose Road raid. Three people were also arrested during the raid in Pascagoula. Authorities say the drugs need to be tested, but suspect they could be fentanyl.
Joe Nicholson, with the Jackson County Metro Enforcement Team, said the raid was strictly a federal case. But, he stressed that it’s the tip of the iceberg, and fentanyl is now a real danger for local, state and federal agents.
This isn’t the first time that law enforcement officers alerted the community about a fentanyl crisis on the Coast. Harrison County Coroner Brian Switzer previously told WLOX News that fentanyl-induced deaths are increasing in the county, becoming what he calls an epidemic.
Two milligrams of fentanyl can be lethal depending on a person’s body size, tolerance and past usage.
“You can’t get prescribed fentanyl. You can only get it in the hospital,” he said. “So, when it comes over here in its purest form, you don’t know what you’re getting. These people aren’t chemists. They’re just mixing something together so they can sell it.”
In September, and for the first time in six years, the Drug Enforcement Administration issued a Public Safety Alert warning Americans of an increase in the lethality and availability of fake prescription pills containing fentanyl.
Also, in October, Gulfport authorities confiscated several counterfeit pills containing fentanyl, meth, marijuana, drug money, illegal guns, and more in a drug sting.
DEA says analysis will determine if it was pharmaceutical-grade fentanyl or if the other drugs were pressed with fentanyl.
Authorities said more arrests could be likely.
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