Five Arrested After 79 Opioid Overdoses

Austin Police Department Unit | Image by Austin Police Department/Twitter
Austin Police Department Unit | Image by Austin Police Department/Twitter

Austin police arrested five people in a sting operation last week following a surge of 79 opioid overdoses that have left nine dead.

Police conducted a sting operation on May 2 that led to the arrest of an individual who was reportedly found with crack cocaine mixed with fentanyl, reported KXAN.

An undercover officer at Cash America Pawn at 9616 N. Lamar Blvd. offered a man $40 for crack cocaine. Kanady Arkangelo Rimijo, 32, purportedly gave the officer two pieces of crack cocaine, according to police documents obtained by the outlet.

While searching Rimijo, officers allegedly found eight bags of marijuana. Both the crack cocaine and marijuana tested positive for fentanyl.

Rimijo was charged with Manufacture Delivery of Controlled Substance Penalty Group 1B, a first-degree felony, and his bond was set at $20,000, per KXAN.

The other four suspects arrested were Marcellus Barron, 30, Gary Lewis, 50, Denise Horton, 47, and Ronnie Mims, 45.

Barron was charged with second-degree felony delivery of a controlled substance. Lewis was charged with second-degree felony possession of a controlled substance. Horton was also charged with second-degree felony possession of a controlled substance. Mims was charged with third-degree felony possession of a controlled substance.

“These arrests come from investigating the source of the illicit narcotics related to the recent overdoses,” a spokesperson for the Austin Police Department said in a press conference Monday. According to the spokesperson, the suspects are “not linked, as of right now, to any of the overdose victims.”

“The purpose of these operations was to try and identify dealers responsible and source of the narcotics responsible for the overdoses,” said the spokesperson.

The APD seized crack cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana, all laced with fentanyl during their operations. The reported overdoses were spread throughout North Austin, Downtown, and South Austin.

Officials believe that the recent overdoses are likely connected to the same source, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. They suspect that a “new batch” of drugs, likely from the same source, arrived in town.

Police have not determined if there is any cartel involvement. The investigation remains ongoing.

The fentanyl crisis affects the entire State of Texas.

Overdose deaths across Texas are on the rise. In 2019, the drug overdose mortality rate was 10.8 per 100,000, and as of 2021, it was 16.8, according to the most recently published data from the CDC.

Gov. Greg Abbott enacted four laws in 2023 that deemed fatal fentanyl overdoses as poisonings and created harsher punishments for fentanyl-related crimes.

“The Dallas Police Department has seen an increase in cases involving fentanyl,” Jesse Carr, senior public information officer for the DPD, told The Dallas Express in April.

In March, a fentanyl dealer from Dallas was sentenced to two decades in federal prison after police seized more than 28,000 counterfeit pharmaceutical pills containing fentanyl from the man’s apartment.

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