Police in Akron and Huntington, W.Va., are cooperating to determine whether rashes of drug overdoses in both cities are connected.
The police departments began working together after an Akron man, Bruce Lamar Griggs, was arrested last week on federal charges of dealing heroin or a similar drug that caused 27 people to overdose in Huntington in a single day.
The spate of overdoses in Huntington followed a massive spike in Akron a month earlier. From July 5 to Aug. 4, Akron saw more overdoses than the previous six months combined.
In Akron, the spike was attributed to carfentanil, an elephant sedative exponentially more potent than heroin that had been introduced to the drug market.
Huntington Police Sgt. Paul Hunter said it’s unclear if carfentanil is to blame for the Huntington overdoses.
“It’s still to early to tell,” Hunter said on Tuesday. “We’re definitely looking at that as a possibility, though.”
Griggs, 22, was arrested after several addicts who overdosed in Huntington identified him as the dealer. They said he used the pseudonym “Benz.” Police also said they captured Griggs on security cameras in the area where victims said they bought drugs from “Benz.”
Griggs is described as engaging in “hand-to-hand, street-level drug distributions,” according to federal court records.
According to local court records, Griggs has a criminal history, including charges of aggravated robbery, drug abuse, tampering with evidence and criminal trespassing.
Nick Glunt can be reached at 330-996-3565 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NickGluntABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ngfalcon.