KPD teaming up with FBI to take down dealers of deadly drugs
KENNEWICK, Wash. — Two Tri-Cities men are facing federal charges in the first case of its kind for our area.
The men are accused of selling fentanyl to someone who used the addictive opioid drug and died as a result.
Police said they're working hand-in-hand with the FBI to aggressively investigate all opioid-related overdose deaths, hoping to prevent more people from ruining their lives.
Kennewick Police Sgt. Aaron Clem said KPD had to get serious because of how quickly opioids like fentanyl are gaining popularity and killing people.
He said fentanyl, or "Mexis" as they're called on the street, is very addictive.
“Fentanyl can be up-to a thousand times stronger than heroin," Clem said. "It’s extremely addictive, and because it’s so strong, it’s extremely deadly.”
Benton County Chief Deputy Coroner Roy McLean said 25 people overdosed and died using opioids during 2017.
Across the river, Franklin County Chief Deputy Coroner Candice Munguia confirmed five more opioid-related deaths during that same time-frame.
Clem said fentanyl is especially dangerous because of how it's made: illegally without any regulation.
“You could ingest one today and get the desired result," he explained. "[But] you could ingest another the next day and it might kills you.”
Now, two men are facing federal charges after being accused of dealing fentanyl that killed someone.
Sgt. Clem said they're making a big deal out of this first indictment because they want to scare dealers.
“We’re hoping it reduces the distribution, that people distributing opioids or fentanyl stop doing it because they realize they could be charged and potentially go to prison," Clem said.
He said they also hope to reach folks struggling with addiction.
“We want people to know that these [dangerous drugs] are out there. We need them to reach out to treatment facilities and get the help that they need.”
Clem said a grand jury looked at the evidence in this case and have recommended federal charges against the two men.
He said they plan to aggressively seek out and prosecute dealers of these dangerous drugs, especially when they kill someone.