LORAIN, Ohio - Lorain Police have confirmed that most of the drug being sold as heroin that caused 23 overdoses and two deaths since Friday is pure fentanyl.
Lorain County Drug Task Force said that nearly all of the confiscated substance is 100 percent fentanyl, though one batch they obtained is 100 percent heroin.
"The determining factor is greed," said Lorain County Drug Task Force Chief Deputy Dennis Cavanaugh. "They will sell until we shut them down."
The investigation has been a group effort by several agencies, and Tuesday afternoon, the DEA joined the hunt to find the source of the lethal drug, which police say was distributed by at least two street-level dealers in Lorain County.
Elyria Police arrested Sierres "Sizzle" Noble Sunday in connection with the fentanyl, nicknamed "White China," which they believe has caused the spike in overdoses in recent days.
Noble had a large amount - 75 grams - of the drug, as well as other paraphernalia, on him when he was arrested, police said.
Elyria Police are awaiting test results to confirm that the drug sold in their city is fentanyl, as well.
Lorain Police executed a search warrant and arrested another suspect, Antwan Taylor, Monday and charged him with trafficking heroin and other substances. Authorities said he had 35 grams of fentanyl on him.
One sniff of synthetic fentanyl, a pain medication stronger than morphine, can be lethal. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that the drug - which is sometimes produced in a powder form and mixed with heroin or cocaine - has an effect similar to heroin.
An overdose can be counteracted by Naloxone, or narcan, which Lorain Police started using less than two weeks ago and used to save at least four lives since Friday, including one last night.
A 32-year-old Elyria woman and a 20-year-old Amherst Township man have died from fentanyl since Friday.
Another Lorain man is in critical condition after a fentanyl overdose.