TOLEDO, Ohio – Three Houston-area residents were arrested in Ohio last week after an investigation yielded evidence that they had attempted to mail a large quantity of fentanyl back to Texas, authorities said.
“The #fentanyl seized last night is enough to kill everyone in Toledo several times over.” Great work, Toledo Bulk Cash Smuggling Task Force! #toledopolice #teamwork #keepingtoledosafe @OhioAG @NDOHnews Read more: https://t.co/azMs0hiGcR pic.twitter.com/NzI3cR37wj
— Toledo Police (@ToledoPolice) March 21, 2018
According to U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman of the Northern District of Ohio, it was enough fentanyl “to kill everyone in Toledo several times over.” He continued, “This is a great example of law enforcement working together to make our community safer.”
ICYMI: Enough fentanyl "to kill everyone in Toledo several times over" was seized at a Lucas County Red Roof Inn, authorities said:https://t.co/2JgJiyLJFK
— Lauren Lindstrom (@lelindstrom) March 22, 2018
One kilogram of the opioid was seized at a Toledo post office, and another half-kilo and $8,500 in cash were seized at a motel room where the trio was staying, the Toledo Blade reported.
The drugs had an estimated total street value of about $1 million, according to authorities.
Fentanyl is “a dangerous synthetic opioid with deadly consequences for users and those in law enforcement,” Steve Francis, special agent in charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement homeland security investigations office in Detroit, told the Blade.
The investigation began Monday after authorities learned that three “suspicious” people had checked in to two rooms at a Red Roof Inn in Toledo, the Dallas Morning News reported.
On Monday and Tuesday, police reportedly watched three individuals – identified as Darrius Lonzo Lewis, 29; Anthony Ray Robinson, 32; and Barbara Nykitta Wilson, 21 – leaving and entering the rooms.
Authorities said they watched Robinson and Wilson drive in separate cars to a post office Tuesday. Robinson reportedly entered the post office with a package, while Wilson returned a rental car before going back to the hotel in Robinson’s car, the Dallas Morning News reported.
After obtaining a search warrant, police found the drugs and cash. As a result, they arrested the suspects.
Further investigation led police to the post office, where authorities said they found a package containing more fentanyl.
When investigators questioned the trio, the complaint says, Robinson and Wilson said they were half-siblings who had driven up from Texas — for a wedding, according to Robinson, and for a proposal dinner by Wilson’s account. Lewis said he had flown to Ohio from Houston.
Three from #Houston area charged in federal court after being arreated with more than three pounds of #fentanyl in #Toledo: (link: https://t.co/VqNi9PAPQn) https://t.co/M4DUvZEt7j @ICEgov @ToledoPolice @OhioAG
— U.S. Attorney — Northern Ohio (@NDOHnews) March 21, 2018
Court records show that Lewis and Robinson each have been convicted of a number of crimes in Harris County, Texas, including drug- and weapons-related offenses. Wilson has been convicted of theft, reported Dallas Morning News.
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ohio’s drug overdose mortality rate in 2016 — the most recent year for which the data is available — was second in the nation behind West Virginia’s. Last year, the Department of Health and Human Services declared the opioid epidemic a national crisis.
“Individuals from out of state who think they can come into Ohio to traffic drugs undetected should know that we have task forces like this one across the state whose mission is to find you, seize your drugs, and stop you from profiting off of Ohioans who are suffering from addiction,” Ohio’s attorney general, Mike DeWine said in a statement.
The trio was being held at the Lucas County Jail in Ohio, authorities said.
A pretrial hearing was set for March 29.