Police make arrests in sales of 'Theraflu' heroin
Law enforcement agencies said little on Wednesday about their progress in determining the source of deadly fentanyl-laced heroin, as police in Homestead hunted for two suspects from a raid that netted a small amount of the drug.
“I'm sure they are going to go underground,” said Homestead police Chief Jeffrey DeSimone, who would not name the men for whom his department obtained arrest warrants after seizing 1,500 baggies of heroin labeled “Bud Ice” on Sunday from a 20th Avenue residence.
“I don't want to make it harder to find them,” DeSimone said.
Police in Pittsburgh and Zelienople on Tuesday arrested suspects in possession of heroin bags stamped “Theraflu,” another of the street brands suspected of containing fentanyl.
“Narcotics detectives and other plain-clothes detectives will continue to target neighborhoods throughout the city,” said Pittsburgh acting police Chief Regina McDonald, who added that her department is working with Allegheny County, state and federal agencies.
Zelienople police Chief James Miller said his Butler County department is working with investigators from the state Attorney General's office.
“There's a big investigation going on,” said Miller, whose officers arrested a woman after her daughter survived a heroin overdose over the weekend inside their house. “It's much bigger than us.”
The potent mixture of heroin and prescription painkiller has killed at least 22 people in Western Pennsylvania in a week and a half.
The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's laboratory has confirmed that heroin marketed as Bud Ice and Theraflu contained a form of fentanyl, an opioid painkiller that can be 100 times stronger than morphine. Doctors prescribe its legal form to cancer patients and others with chronic pain.
City officers said in a criminal complaint that they scouted out a Mt. Oliver house to arrest Clayton McCray, 19, pulling him over for driving with a suspended license when he left the house. The officers said they found marijuana and heroin bags stamped “Dope Boyz” in his pockets.
In the car with McCray was Frederick Knight Jr., 20, of Carrick. Police said they found marijuana in Knight's pocket and 36 bags of heroin stamped “Theraflu” stuffed into his underwear.
SWAT team members searched the Anthony Street house, where police recovered more heroin, nearly $1,300, and three weapons.
Knight and McCray, charged with drug distribution and other crimes, were being held at the Allegheny County Jail.
April L. Opperman, 41, on Wednesday remained in the Butler County Prison on $100,000 bond.
Zelienople officers on Friday responded to a call of a teenage girl overdosing at Opperman's residence on West Beaver Street and found drug paraphernalia along with empty and full baggies of heroin stamped Theraflu, according to a criminal complaint.
A man who overdosed Saturday told investigators he bought Theraflu from Opperman. On Tuesday, Zelienople police returned to Opperman's home with a search warrant and investigators from the Attorney General's office and Butler County Drug Task Force.
“We kicked the door down and found two bundles of heroin stamped Theraflu,” Miller said. “They are pretty sure it's all connected.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh city vehicle repair delays elicit gripes about Cincinnati company
- 6 arrested after brief SWAT standoff in Fineview
- Pittsburgh bishop throws cold water on ALS group, which uses embryonic stem cells
- Pitcairn police department 1st in Western Pennsylvania to carry Narcan for heroin overdoses
- Allegheny County police balk at plan for rangers to patrol parks
- Law targeting sexual violence prompts campuses to review, publish policies
- Inbound Liberty Tunnel will reopen for morning rush
- Wilson Center event rentals thwarted by cooling system repairs
- Suit over too-tall Pittsburgh Parking Authority meters nearly settled
- Pittsburgh Parking Authority break set for holiday motorists
- Pittsburgh region’s immigration differs from rest of nation