Arrest made in Mason 'gray death' fatal overdose

Posted at 9:51 AM, May 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-22 12:35:58-04

MASON, Ohio -- Deputies said they arrested a Mason man who provided a deadly synthetic drug known as "gray death" to an overdose victim. 

Bobby Singleton III, 34, sold the drug to Joseph J. Krouse, 33, who died of an overdose Saturday, according to the the Warren County Sheriff's Office.

RELATED: New heroin-laced drug, 'Gray Death,' surfaces in Hamilton County

Singleton III was charged with one count of trafficking in drugs and one count of possession of drugs, both felonies. He may face an additional charge after Krouse's toxicology results are known, authorities said.

Singleton was arrested after an undercover operation in which officers purchased gray death, according to Chief Deputy Barry Riley. He is currently being held in the Warren County Jail without bond.

Earlier this month, the Hamilton County Coroner's Office confirmed gray death's presence in Cincinnati.

Gray death, a street drug resembling concrete that surfaced last fall in Hamilton County, is often laced with heroin, fentanyl, carfentanilfuranyl fentanyl or acrylfentanyl, Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco said.

The drug is seven times more potent than morphine, Hamilton County Coroner’s Office spokesman Terry Daley said. It is typically light or gray in color and powdery. It got the name gray death because it can resemble cement.

The drug's name is more often truncated to "gray" in Greater Cincinnati, Lt. Steve Saunders said. Other authorities have said the drug is showing up in southern portions of the United States and could be on the move as drug dealers look to make more money.

The coroner's office recorded 100 more opiate-related overdose deaths in 2016 than 2015, Sammarco said -- and 342 of the 403 overdoses in 2016 involved at least one kind of opiate.

The coroner’s office recorded 221 suspected drug overdoses in Hamilton County in the first four months of 2017.

Click here to read WCPO's complete coverage of heroin's hold on the Tri-State.