Drug Dealer Faces 20 Years In Prison After Causing 26 Overdoses And Two Deaths In West Virginia By Selling Elephant Tranquilizers As Heroin.
Federal authorities say an Ohio man responsible for more than two dozen drug overdoses in Huntington, West Virginia, has pleaded guilty in federal court to distributing heroin.
Authorities say 22-year-old Bruce Lamar Griggs of Akron, also known as ‘Benz,’ faces up to 20 years in prison at sentencing April 10 for selling heroin mixed with potent additives and opioids.
Laboratory tests on blood and urine samples showed heroin, fentanyl and carfentanil, an opioid considered 10,000 times stronger than morphine that’s used as an elephant tranquilizer.
According to investigators, Griggs sold heroin on the afternoon of August 15 to approximately 26 individuals who suffered overdoses very shortly after using the drug.
Two of the victims died, and many others required medical treatment.
Fentanyl is an opioid used as part of anesthesia to help prevent pain.
Prosecutors say Griggs admitted he was responsible for the overdoses in his plea agreement.
This past August, authorities were alarmed when twenty-six people overdosed in four hours within a small radius in Huntington.
The rash of overdoses, which were deemed a ‘mass casualty event,’ prompted emergency services to bring in ambulances from other areas.
Huntington, a small town with a population of 49,000, is approximately 50 miles west of West Virginia’s state capital, Charleston.
In September, the DEA issued a public warning about the health and safety risks of carfentanil.
‘DEA, local law enforcement and first responders have recently seen the presence of carfentanil, which has been linked to a significant number of overdose deaths in various parts of the country,’ the DEA’s release stated.
‘Improper handling of carfentanil, as well as fentanyl and other fentanyl-related compounds, has deadly consequences.’
The US Attorney’s Office said in an August release from the case: ‘The affidavit states that one of the overdose victims identified the seller of the heroin as Griggs and that numerous others provided corroborating information linking the heroin to Griggs.
‘The affidavit also states that surveillance video shows a person matching Griggs’ description engaging in activity indicative of hand-to-hand drug distribution in the Marcum Terrace area shortly before the overdoses began.’
By ASSOCIATED PRESS and ARIEL ZILBER FOR DAILYMAIL.COM