Seven arrests were made and more are expected, Medina police said Friday, related to drug sales out of a Lafayette Road apartment that were linked to at least three overdoses.
Medina police, working with Medina County Drug Task Force agents, reported responding to three separate fentanyl overdose cases in a six-hour span Thursday. A fourth overdose was reported by Spencer Police later Thursday and is believed to be linked to the same batch of fentanyl.
Following the overdoses, police said, they seized “an illicit shipment of fentanyl” valued at just under $7,000 during a search in the 100 block of Lafayette Road.
Fentanyl is an opioid that officials say can have an effect similar to heroin. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the drug can be hundreds of times more potent than heroin.
Police said the drugs were sold by Mario Dennis, 35, of Cleveland, out of an apartment in the 100 block of Lafayette Road. Dennis was arrested and charged with one count of drug trafficking, according to police.
Police said in a statement that Dennis is on probation in Medina County Common Pleas Court for drug trafficking and failure to comply.
Gary Hubbard, executive director of the Medina County Drug Task Force, told The Gazette the task force had received a number of complaints from neighbors and business owners in the 100 block of Lafayette Road this week about possible drug activity.
The police report said complaints led to a community meeting Monday.
On Tuesday, police said, officers met with property officials and told them of the complaints and provided a call history.
“Before we had a chance to do much, the overdoses started,” Hubbard said. Police tested the drugs found on the overdose victims Thursday and found the drugs were 100 percent fentanyl.
“We felt we needed to act quickly,” Hubbard said.
Police interviewed friends and family members of overdose victims and said they were able to tie the drug purchases to Dennis at an apartment in the 100 block of Lafayette. Police arrested Dennis at his work and executed a search warrant signed by Judge Dale Chase at the apartment. Lola Bass, 25, was arrested in that apartment. Officers said she was charged with trafficking in drugs in the vicinity of a juvenile.
The police report called Bass a “tenant” in the apartment and said she was “in control of the apartment” when officers arrived. Police said nine children were in the apartment.
The children ranged from 7 months to 10 years old, police said.
Johnny W. Fletcher, 21, of the 100 block of Lafayette Road, was arrested and charged with trafficking in fentanyl. The report said he was found “in possession of 32 grams … intended for resale in the presence of children.”
The 32 grams of fentanyl found in Fletcher’s possession have a street value of just under $7,000, Hubbard said.
As police were executing the warrant, Danzel L. Boggues Mannings, 28, of Medina, is alleged to have assaulted officers when he came to pick up his children from the Lafayette Road site, the report said.
Police said that Sgt. Edward Kinney and Detective Josh Grusendorf fell down a flight of stairs during the incident. Mannings was charged with assault.
In the cases involving overdoses: