Fentanyl plagues Indiana as fatal overdoses rise

Crime in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS — Federal prosecutors announced the dismantling of a large drug ring that spanned from Indianapolis to Evansville.

Thirty suspects are now facing charges.

The federal indictment claims the ring leaders were based out of Indianapolis.

Prosecutors claim that drug ring distributed large amounts of meth and fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills to Evansville.

The bust is significant because the numbers show that drug fatal overdoses continue to rise in Marion County and around Indiana.

“These charges reflect the government’s focus on the impact of these offenses in our community,” said United States Attorney Zachary Myers.

According to the federal indictments, prosecutors seized over 46 pounds of meth, more than 3,700 counterfeit oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl and a pill press machine used to make the counterfeit pills.

“It’s a big win for us, getting these violent drug traffickers off the street,” said DEA assistant special agent in charge Mike Gannon.

Gannon points out just 2 milligrams of fentanyl, the amount that fits on the tip of a pencil, can prove fatal.

“Let’s call fentanyl what it is. It’s poison. It’s lethal poison, and these people are out to deal it so they can make money. They don’t care what happens to you,” said Gannon.

Gannon described fentanyl use as an epidemic in Indiana. In Marion County alone, the number of fatal drug overdoses climbed significantly from 2019 to 2020.

In 2019 there were 406 fatal overdose deaths in Marion County, with 238 related to fentanyl. In 2020 those numbers rose to 640 overdose deaths, with 507 being fentanyl related.

Through the end of November of 2021, there have been 639 fatal overdose deaths, with 499 fentanyl related.

“It’s 50 times more potent than heroin, and when it’s that potent it’s going to destroy somebody,” said Gannon. “Don’t even go near these counterfeit pills. It’s detrimental to you and lethal.”

Prosecutors say 29 of the 30 suspects in this case have been arrested.

The only fugitive who hasn’t been apprehended is 28-year-old L.C. Moore II, who lives in Indianapolis.

One of the suspects facing charges is Dominique Baquet. Baquet made headlines this year when he was charged in connection with a shooting at a funeral home in mid August. He has now had his bond revoked.

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