Fentanyl Arrests Break Records Across U.S.
Every day, in every way, fentanyl floods into the country. And every day, in every way, authorities make a mad amount of fentanyl arrests. The worst part though isn’t that arrests are up (though there is that), or that the seizures are higher (though there is that too). No, the worst part is that there isn’t a single sliver of the country which isn’t being affected.
Want proof? Check the wide variety fentanyl arrests made during the last month. We’re talkin’ as far south as Daytona Beach, as far north as Auburn, Maine, and as far west as Carpinteria, California. We’re also talkin’ a good few stops between. Yet even with all that, we’re omitting more marginal fentanyl arrests in places like Paducah, Puxatawney, Tulsa or Broken Arrow.
The Past Month’s Biggest Fentanyl Arrests
Yes, fentanyl arrests are stretching from border-to-border and sea-to-sea. They’re also resulting in record-setting seizures. What’s ironic though, is that many of the bad guys are getting caught after cops caught ‘em overdosing on their own goods.
Think the cartel kingpins frontin’ the goods make allowances for sheer stupidity?
Take this case. The Chattanoogan says this recent batch of fentanyl arrests included members of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Chattanooga Police Department, the East Ridge Police Department and the Hamilton County Sheriffs Office, as well as agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration. It only took one officer though to bring down the whole drug ring.
That’s right. Authorities say the ring consisted of Derek Hatfield, David Branum, John Allen Patterson, Charla Patterson and Lisa Pennington. They also said Joshua “Taylor” Eaker was the ring’s leader.
That means Eaker was probably most mad to find out the cops had nabbed Lisa Pennington’s husband Robert passed out at the wheel of her vehicle. Eaker was undoubtedly even madder to learn that 5-0 had found drugs sticking out of Pennington’s pocket, as well as “a large bag of what appeared to be meth on the driver’s floorboard.” The subsequent firearms discovery surely didn’t help much; neither did the fact that the license plate belonged to another car.
But it wasn’t just passing out at a red light or having drugs in plain view that put the proverbial nail in the drug ring’s coffin. It wasn’t even the guns and the plate switch. It was Robert’s many jailhouse calls to wife Lisa. Phone calls the authorities were only happy to record – and then to act upon.
And why not? Not only did the Penningtons reveal the tricks of their burgeoning drug trade, but they even provided addresses. That’s what led authorities to seizing a very nice batch of meth and fentanyl at Charla Patterson’s home. The Chattanoogan says it also led to a very telling admission.
“Patterson told agents that she had been purchasing ½ ounce quantities of heroin and one to two-ounce quantities of meth every day or every other day for approximately the past year.”
That’s undoubtedly the last revelation the now former ring leader wanted to hear.
There’s more of course. Much more. And there’s likely to be even more to come. And you can read all about it at The Chattanoogan.
A similar story went down in Carpinteria, a small seaside city on California’s Central Coast. No, the culprit wasn’t married to the drug mob. He didn’t blab over the phone either. Then again, he didn’t have to. See after Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office deputies found this bright boy passed out behind the wheel with a lapful of drugs, they simply got a search warrant for his residence.
And oh, what a treasure trove they found! All told the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office seized 2.9 ounces of ketamine, 1.82 pounds of fentanyl, 1.16 pounds of cocaine, 4.6 ounces of heroin, 4.7 ounces of methamphetamine, 616 oxycodone M30 pills, and 50 benzos pills.
What’s worse, the dingbat didn’t even live in Carpinteria!
You can see all about it on KEYT, which apparently serves as the local affiliate for CBS, ABC and FOX.
Meanwhile in Racine, Wisconsin, 43-year-old Kevin Lynch threw nearly $400K in fake fentanyl pills out his car’s window during a high-speed police chase. Well, that’s what Lynch believed anyway. See he didn’t know that authorities had switched the package before it ever fell into his hands.
Nevertheless, “over five pounds of fentanyl was stopped before it hit the streets,” said Lt. Michael Luell with the Racine County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO).
That could’ve brought on whole lotta death and destruction.
Joining the crime-busters from the RCSO were the Racine County Metro Drug Unit and the Milwaukee High Intensity Drug Trafficking. We got the blow-by-blow from FOX6 Milwaukee and the Racine County Eye.
Not to be outdone, the Colorado State Patrol and the Western Colorado Drug Task Force nabbed 25-year-old Ramon Cesena-Valdez with 100,000 fentanyl pills and 75 pounds of meth. The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office says the man was picked up traveling west on I-70.
That’s about all they say though. Same with KKTV, who devoted three stringy paragraphs to the story. Guess that’s simply par for the course ‘round those parts. After all, rival KKCO only devoted a few lines to the abandoned suitcase containing a cool million dollars worth of fent that was found at the bus station just one month earlier. And if even an abandoned 22 pounds of murder doesn’t generate headlines, you’re in one helluva hotspot!
Meanwhile yet another multi-agency drug sting went down in the Daytona Beach area. And yet again the tag-team produced significant results. Then again, what else would you expect from an assembly that included members from the Volusia Sheriff’s Office, the City of Edgewater Police Department, the Holly Hill Police Department, the New Smyrna Beach Police Department, the Ormond Beach Police Department, the Port Orange Police Department and the South Daytona Police Department?
What did they get? Why nearly a kilogram of fentanyl, 26g of methamphetamine, four firearms (plus ammo), fent-manufacturing paraphernalia and $17,855 cash. They also got Javaris Allen-Holt, who was charged with armed trafficking of fentanyl, manufacturing fentanyl, renting/maintaining a structure for drug trafficking, possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Allen-Holt shouldn’t be too uncomfortable though. After all, he’s been booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail at least nine times since 2014. Though prior charges like burglary of an unoccupied dwelling, grand theft of a motor vehicle, domestic battery by strangulation, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor are probably going to pale into comparison to the laundry list he’s now facing.
Thanks to WNDB’s Chris Gollon for the story.
How would you feel if you found 31 pounds of fentanyl inside a box of mugs you ordered for your restaurant? How about if you learned those drugs were worth an estimated $3 million dollars? Would you be a bit surprised? Maybe even a tad shocked?
So would we.
And so would employees at Mac’s Grill up in Auburn, Maine. In fact, the staff was more than a bit surprised when they first opened the wooden crate and found a suspicious tote bag secreted inside. That’s why they called the cops. And that’s when cops discovered all that fentanyl.
Mac’s Grill co-owner Mike Peters said he’s is glad the drugs didn’t make it to the streets.
So are we, Mike. So are we.
BTW: CBS News says when 41-year-old Jeremy Mercier showed up at Mac’s looking for his fent-filled tote, the Auburn Police Department swiftly locked him up. Last we heard he had no bond.
Okay, technically this fentanyl arrest went down in Haywood County, which is just west of Asheville and its adjacent Buncombe County. The Haywood County Sheriff’s Office also made the arrest. The alleged culprit, however, is from Asheville. And that picturesque Western North Carolina town was quite likely his destination too.
Whatever the case, the subsequent seizure made Haywood County history. It also prevented an incalculable amount of death and destruction.
“Nearly 500 grams of meth, 300 grams of suspected fentanyl seized in historic arrest” blared the ABC13 News headline. The station’s subsequent caption then broke it down to the fraction. It also provided the who and the when. To wit:
The Haywood County Sheriff’s Office says on Friday, April 28, 2023, around 10:55 p.m., deputies from the sheriff’s office narcotics and interdiction unit were conducting an investigation that resulted in the pursuit and arrest of Scottie Lee Parham, 30, of Asheville. Recovered was 497.2 grams of Methamphetamine, 299.5 grams of suspected Fentanyl and a Glock handgun.
The network also revealed that Parham’s bond was set at over $2.5 million and that he was facing at least a half dozen felonies, including:
- Felony Flee to Elude Arrest in a Motor Vehicle
- 2 Counts of Trafficking in Methamphetamine
- 2 Counts of Trafficking Opium or Heroin (Suspected Fentanyl)
- Possession of a Firearm by a Felon
What the coverage couldn’t cover was the impact that much hard drugs would have had on the region. After all, Buncombe County’s Asheville has less than 100,000 residents, and Haywood County seat Waynesville has less than a tenth of that. We’d hate to even imagine the damage that could come from nearly 800 grams of meth and fentanyl circulating on those bucolic streets. After all, this is a place many folks consider to be a slice of Heaven on Earth. It’s a damn shame some folks want to turn it all to Hell.
Fentanyl Arrests Save Lives
Again, we didn’t include more marginal fentanyl arrests in places like Paducah, Puxatawney, Tulsa or Broken Arrow. We probably should have though. After all, while those seizures may have only netted a few hundred doses or so each, that’s a good few hundred or so potentially saved lives.
If a couple-few hundred lives were saved in even the more marginal fentanyl arrests, just imagine how many lives were spared in the marquee takedowns. Take, for instance, the Maine seizure. Though we’re not quite certain how many doses 31 pounds of fentanyl might produce, we’re pretty sure it’s enough to kill most of Auburn’s 24,601 citizens. Heck, even a 10% death rate would wreak unimaginable havoc in a town that size.
Remember, if you come across fentanyl, please resist. It’s too risky. And if you’ve got a problem with the deadly drug, please reach out for help. Whether you call SAMHSA’s National Helpline or Healing Properties or someone else entirely doesn’t matter. Just please make the call.