CLEVELAND- The Cleveland Division of Police Narcotics Unit seized 2 kilos of heroin and $206,000 as part of a recent drug investigation.
Police Chief Calvin Williams, Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Gilson and other local authorities held a news conference on Tuesday to discuss the case and their ongoing fight against heroin overdoses.
Williams said any time there is a heroin-related death in the city, it triggers an investigation into the source. "They start their investigation to see if they can solve either who initiated this by either selling or giving that person the drugs and who caused injury or death to those persons," said Chief Calvin Williams.
Commander Gary Gingell, with the Bureau of Special Services, said his team executed two search warrants on Sept. 18, where investigators recovered heroin, cash and a Glock handgun. He described the bust as huge. "It's a very, very large seizure; it's about 75-thousand dollars a kilo wholesale," said Gingell said, who is in charge of the narcotics unit.
Investigators said a special narcotics squad that responds to all heroin-related overdoses or deaths confiscated the heroin from a home on West 12th Street in Tremont.
Police arrested Angelica Umpierre, 32, and Madelin Bruno, 40. Gingell said they were importing the drugs from out of state.
They couldn't say if their arrests were directly related to a death.
"Heroin deaths have been one of the leading causes of death in our county for about as long as I've been here," Gilson said. "We have found we have a new enemy which is fentanyl."
He said naloxone is an effective antidote against heroin overdoses, but the window to use it is much smaller for fentanyl, which is a powerful opiate more potent than morphine.
Gilson said his office expects 75 to 100 deaths related to fentanyl this year in Cuyahoga County, compared to about 30 last year.