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Cincinnati police seize largest amount of fentanyl, carfentanil in department's history

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Posted at 1:43 PM, Jul 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-27 18:10:26-04

CINCINNATI -- Police arrested a man Thursday in connection with trafficking fentanyl, carfentanil, heroin and a synthetic substance called U-47700.

Officers arrested Craig Williams, 37, on July 7 and seized five pounds of the drugs. Police said the recovery is the largest carfentanil/fentanyl seizure to date for the Cincinnati Police Department.

"They took off a major supplier, so hopefully we will see that difference in the street," Newtown Police Chief Tom Synan said.

U-47700 has the same compound as “Gray Death,” a powerful opiate that is seven times more potent than morphine. “Gray Death” is often made up of three different opiate drugs, fentanyl or heroin.

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

Fentanyl is considered to be 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin. Carfentanil is 10,000 times more potent than morphine. As the two drugs and derivative cocktails become more common, Chief Synan said local police departments and emergency responders have responded to more overdoses and witnessed more deaths.

"When we started in 2015, we had 20 to 25 overdoses a week with one to two deaths," he said. "We now in 2017, average 50 to 70 with 4 to 5 deaths a week."

In Hamilton County alone, fentanyl was a factor in the deaths of 344 people in 2015, according to the Hamilton County Coroner's Office.

Narcotics officers said they also recovered $29,000, two loaded firearms, cutting agents, drug presses, blenders, digital scales, gloves and masks.

This year, police said there have already been 25 suspected fatal overdoses in the areas of East, West and Lower Price Hill, Westwood, Millvale, North and South Fairmount, Riverside, Saylor Park, Sedamsville and Cumminsville.

Willaims was indicted for several counts of drug trafficking with specification. He is being held at the Hamilton County Justice Center.