HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The fentanyl overdose body count is increasing in Cameron County. The synthetic opioid is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.
In some of the overdose deaths, such as the one that occurred in Harlingen on Oct. 2, the user did not know they were taking fentanyl.
Police records show the chilling texts from a family member to alleged dealer Michael David Ramirez.
The cocaine was mixed with fentanyl and these messages landed Mikey in handcuffs.
This spawned a task force with DEA Agent Stephen Ohman, Harlingen Police, and the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office.
“Anybody that says that it’s not dangerous, it’s not deadly. They’re just kidding themselves,” said Agent Ohman.
Ohman and the task force are following the trail of bodies, from suspected dealers to international suppliers.
“In the past, we didn’t focus a whole lot on holding these individuals that would sell potentially lethal drugs that kill people, accountable, and that’s what this task force is designed to change,” Ohman said.
But for change to happen, people need to say not in my neighborhood.
“A lot of times you’re arresting people in their homes, and you see their families and you see their kids, and you’re having to arrest these people in front of their kids. It’s gut-wrenching. I hate it. I wish these people wouldn’t put themselves in that position,” Ohman added.
Ohman is urging parents to talk to their kids about drugs.
Fentanyl comes in many forms such as powder, pills, and liquid. The liquid form is often disguised as a nasal spray or eye drops. The powdered fentanyl is often pressed into pills that look like medication.
To lure in younger users, there’s rainbow fentanyl, dyed in bright colors to look like candy.