The Erie County Sheriff's Narcotic Unit seized 600 grams of the powerful opioid fentanyl during a raid at a house on Zenner Street in Buffalo Thursday – enough to potentially cause thousands of fatal overdoses.
Arrested as part of the investigation was Willie Loyd, 39, who was charged with felony counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell and criminal possession of a narcotic. He was being held at the Erie County Holding Center Friday.
After receiving a tip, an undercover deputy made several purchases of fentanyl from Loyd, said Chief D. J. Granville, who heads the sheriff's Narcotics Unit.
Illicitly-produced fentanyl is often mixed in with heroin to increase potency – it can be 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin and much cheaper to make – and has contributed to the rise in the number of fatal overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
During the undercover buys, Loyd allegedly warned the detective about the potency of the substance he was selling, Granville said.
Thursday morning, deputies took Loyd into custody at a state parole office on an indictment warrant secured by the Erie County District Attorney’s Office.
Then around 11 a.m., the narcotics unit, aided by the Buffalo Police Intelligence Unit and the Homeland Security’s Border Enforcement Security Task Force, raided a house on Zenner, off Genesee Street.
Investigators seized what they described as a "large package of fentanyl," along with smaller quantities of Suboxone, which is used to treat opioid addiction but can also be abused, as well as Narcan, an antidote for opioid overdose. They also seized one vehicle.
Investigators are looking into a connection between Thursday's case and another raid last week Friday in which sheriff's narcotics detectives seized more than 300 grams of fentanyl.
"It only takes 2 milligrams for it to be a fatal dose," Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said Thursday during a news conference about rewards being offered for tips to the Crime Stoppers Buffalo hotline.