PITTSBURGH - Six alleged drug dealers have been charged in Allegheny County’s first seizure of the powerful tranquilizer, carfentanil.
Pennsylvania’s Attorney General’s office said the suspects are accused of selling $750,000 worth of carfentanil, fentanyl and heroin in towns across Allegheny County over the past year.
It’s the first known seizure of carfentanil, a tranquilizer for large animals. Investigators said it is 10,000 times more potent than morphine.
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“These dealers sold carfentanil – a potent, deadly drug that is literally used to tranquilize elephants,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “It is outrageous criminal conduct, we won’t allow it, and with strong law enforcement collaboration, we’ve shut down a drug ring that sold three-quarters of a million dollars of poison in towns across Allegheny County.”
Investigators charged the alleged drugs ringleader, Deondray Beasley, 29, of Homestead. Also charged were Derek Williams, 22, of Munhall; Dorrean Watson, 30, of Pittsburgh; James Wells, 29, of North Braddock; Patrick Sanders, 27, of Duquesne; and Randy Wolford, 29, of Braddock.
"We felt the danger to the community was far worse than us trying to follow the investigation," Lt. Jeff Korcyzk, of the Allegheny County police, said.
That danger was magnified for investigators during undercover buys when authorities say the suspects spoke of shooting police if ever confronted.
Allegheny County Police say the drugs were sold as heroin to unsuspecting users, potentially leading to deadly results.
"Beasley and his people were not making any efforts to reveal to the potential victims that this is the highly deadly carfentanil," Korcyzk said.
Sanders and Williams were arrested Thursday morning. Beasley and Watson were previously incarcerated in the Allegheny County Jail. Wells and Wolford remain at large.
Four of the defendants – Beasley, Wells, Williams, and Watson – are also charged with corrupt organizations.
Korczyk said they're now investigating whether drugs peddled by these men can be linked to any overdose deaths.
"It appears there may be a couple that we can link back to that. But it's still early and we haven't got the findings from the Medical Examiner's Office but we are pursuing that angle," Korczyk said.
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