District Attorney Brent Cooper announced that a year and a half long task force investigation in conjunction with the DEA Nashville office, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and the Columbia Police Department resulted in the disruption of a fentanyl drug ring the the arrest of seven suspects.

The team focused on a counterfeit oxycodone pills drug trafficking organization, which they later discovered was selling fentanyl-laced pills. Over the duration of the investigation, members of the team made undercover purchases in order to “[identify] the sources of the pills recovered during the sales leading to the execution of six residential search warrants.”

After obtaining warrants, investigators seized a large quantity of fentanyl-laced pills, seven guns, and over $30,000 in cash.

Cooper said that in all, eleven individuals were indicted on charges of “including Conspiracy to Distribute Fentanyl, Distribution of Fentanyl, and Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Felony, and Felony Tampering with Evidence” by a grand jury in Maury County, Tennessee.

So far, seven out of the eleven individuals have been arrested. Authorities are continuing the search for the remaining four suspects, Cooper said.

“Fentanyl cases are surging nationwide, along with overdose deaths associated with the drug. In fact, one individual scheduled to be indicted in this case died of a suspected fentanyl overdose last week,” the district attorney said.

The DEA noted that dose of just two to three milligrams of the synthetic opioid is lethal for most people.

The Tennessee Star reported earlier this year that fentanyl-related overdoses have been on the rise across the country. Recently, Davidson County has seen a 75 percent increase in overdoses containing fentanyl, and a 16 percent increase in fatal overdoses compared to last year.

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Morgan Nicole Veysey is a reporter for The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Follow her on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Fentanyl distribution” by Brent Cooper- District Attorney – 22nd Judicial District.