Police confiscate opiate Lethal drug seized when car is stopped

March 19, 1992|By Roger Twigg | Roger Twigg,Staff Writer

Drug abusers beware -- Baltimore police recently confiscated 550 yellow glassine bags -- each containing a potentially lethal dose of a drug that has been linked to six recent overdose deaths in the city and one in Montgomery County.

The bags, containing Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opiate, were discovered when police stopped a car in West Baltimore on Monday. Fentanyl has been linked to seven deaths statewide since mid-February.

The latest victim was a woman whose body was discovered Saturday in a house in the 1100 block of W. Lafayette Ave., said Capt. Mike Andrew, head of the narcotics unit.

Deaths resulting from the use of Fentanyl have now occurred in five of the city's nine police districts. Last month, the drug first turned up in a six-block area of East Baltimore that is known for drug trafficking. Police initially believed that distribution of the drug was confined to that area, now there is concern that the drug is being distributed across the city.

Captain Andrew said that, in addition to the 550 bags seized Monday, a bag was taken from a 17-year-old youth Friday on North Monroe Street in West Baltimore and another bag was found in the house with the latest victim.

Fentanyl is manufactured legitimately by two firms in New Jersey, Captain Andrew said. City police are looking into the possibility that the drug is being pilfered from the firms or it is being manufactured at some clandestine laboratory.

Meanwhile, the woman who was arrested with the 550 bags containing Fentanyl has refused to cooperate with police.

"We plan to sit down and talk with her some more," Captain Andrew said. "Maybe if she only understood how serious this is."

Thomas M. Muller, director of the police crime laboratory, said the recently confiscated glassine bags contained Fentanyl "40 to 80 times above the maximum therapeutic dosage" and is "200 times more powerful then morphine."

Police are uncertain if the addicts are being told of the contents of each bag or if the bags are being sold as heroin.

Anyone with information on the situation is asked to contact city police at 685-DRUG.

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