Police find enough fentanyl to kill thousands in Fort Wayne home raid

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Police arrested two people Tuesday on allegations they were dealing the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl out of their northeast side home.

Just after 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, officers with the Fort Wayne Police Department’s Vice & Narcotics Division served a search warrant at a home at in the 6000 block of Dichotomy Court, off St. Joe Road near Riviera Plaza. According to a news release issued Thursday, detectives had been tipped off about a resident dealing the powerful opiate Fentanyl out of the home.

Before officers arrived at the home, the two residents — 29-year-old Juan Lamont Williams and 22-year-old Niyah Howard — were taken into custody during separate traffic stops. At the home, police found 51.7 grams of fentanyl, 5.3 grams of marijuana, and a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun.

Fentanyl is 80 times more potent than morphine and can be lethal. It has led to thousands of overdose deaths.

Fort Wayne Police Capt. Kevin Hunter said 150 micrograms is enough to kill someone. The more than 5 million micrograms in the 51.7 grams found at the house would have been enough to kill tens of thousands of people.

Just last week, the CDC released findings from a recent study. Researchers looked at overdose deaths in 10 different states from July 1, 2016, to Dec. 31, 2016. They studied roughly 5,100 opioid overdose deaths and found nearly 3,000 tested positive for fentanyl. More than 700 tested positive for drugs that have similar chemical structures to fentanyl.

Hunter said there have been 83 confirmed drug overdose deaths in 2017 in Allen County, with 75 other deaths pending toxicology reports. From Jan. 1 to Oct. 31 of this year, 1,032 people have overdosed and survived.

Detectives also confiscated 10.3 grams of cocaine and more than $1,000 in cash found on Williams during the traffic stop.

Williams was arrested and charged with dealing fentanyl, dealing cocaine, possession of marijuana, being a serious violent felon in possession of a handgun and maintaining a common nuisance. Howard faces a single charge of dealing fentanyl.

Police said the investigation was ongoing.