Several hundred grams of the deadly opioid fentanyl were seized Wednesday when it was delivered by mail at a house in Depew, a law enforcement source said.
Experts say just one grain of fentanyl can trigger a fatal overdose. The drug, often made in clandestine labs in China or Mexico, can be 40 to 100 times more potent than heroin. It's often mixed in with heroin or sold as heroin. The majority of fatal opioid overdoses in Erie County involve fentanyl.
The amount of drugs mailed to a home on Sable Palm Drive in two packages and several more packages of fentanyl found inside the house, could "easily kill hundreds," said the source who was involved in the investigation.
No arrests were made Tuesday when the drugs arrived at about 10 a.m., but authorities are searching for a suspect.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the New York State Police, Erie County Sheriff's Office and Depew Police Department were working together Tuesday as the packages arrived at the house in what law enforcement call a "controlled delivery."
The raid in the village occurred on a quiet tree-lined street full of duplexes.
According to neighbors, dozens of police and Department of Homeland Security officers rushed to the home with weapons drawn and a helicopter circling overhead. Canine units and SWAT team members converged on the property, the neighbors said, and the street was blocked off. The neighbors, who took pictures of the crackdown, described seeing authorities with masks and gloves on going back and forth between the home and a law enforcement trailer.
In Erie County, 301 people died of opioid overdoses last year, according to the Erie County Department of Health. As of July 18, there have been 218 confirmed or suspected fatal opioid overdoses in the county in 2017.
Erie County operates a 24-hour hotline for people seeking treatment for opioid addiction at 831-7007.