Sunday, June 26, 2022

Deputies seize enough fentanyl to kill everyone in New Hanover County, twice

Detectives captured ten times more fentanyl than during a successful operation on November 30 of last year, a bust that was - at the time - the county's largest-ever seizure of the powerful opioid.

WILMINGTON — Detectives with the New Hanover County Gang Task Force have seized a stockpile of the powerful opioid fentanyl large enough to kill every man, woman and child in New Hanover County, twice.

After a monthlong investigation, detectives tracked the narcotics transactions of Marlon Raequan Miller, a validated gang member. As the investigation progressed, detectives identified the residence at 808 McRae St. as a gathering place for multiple gang members, including members of the 720 Folk Nation.

On Friday, Jan. 26, shortly after noon, Vice and Narcotics detectives executed a search warrant on the property. Detectives seized two firearms – a Tec-9 semi-automatic pistol, and a .357 revolver, as well as marijuana, several grams of raw heroin, 75 bags of pre-packaged heroin, and assorted paraphernalia.

But the most potentially dangerous thing seized in the search was 1,100 grams – about 2.4 pounds – of fentanyl. That’s more fentanyl than the Sheriff’s Office has ever seized in a single bust, ten times the amount captured during the Nov. 30, 2017, operation that was, until now, the county’s largest-ever seizure of the powerful opioid.

Fentanyl is considerably more powerful than heroin, and thus more likely to cause an overdose. According to the FDA, the LD50 – the dosage at which half of the test subjects are killed – of intravenous fentanyl varies depending on the species: “the intravenous LD50 of fentanyl is 3 mg/kg in rats, 1 mg/kg in cats, 14 mg/kg in dogs and 0.03 mg/kg in monkeys.” Toxicologists, including those at the FDA, frequently use monkeys as the closest analog to human reactions.

At the LD50 of .03 milligrams of fentanyl per kilogram of body weight, it would take about 2.1 milligrams of fentanyl to kill an average 70 kilogram (155 pound) pound person. The Sheriff’s Office’s 1,100 gram seizure could kill 523,809 people — or twice the population of New Hanover County.

Detectives arrested Marlon Raequan Miller on multiple charges of possession with the intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver heroin and was jailed on a $150,000 secure bond.

Detectives also arrested three validated gang members: Sharmaine L. Ballard, Tommy Sellers, and Tyreek Quanya Robinson. The three were charged with trafficking, conspiracy to traffic, possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver, and maintaining a dwelling to facilitate their narcotics transactions. They received no bond for these charges.

Send comments and tips to Benjamin Schachtman at, @pcdben on Twitter, and (910) 538-2001.

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