Tarrant County creates narcotics unit to crack down on fentanyl dealers
The Tarrant County District Attorney's office is cracking down on narcotics dealers, especially fentanyl, the potent, deadly opiod that's become a national crisis.
According to a release, Tarrant County District Attorney Phil Sorrells has created a new unit to focus on cases that involve narcotics, including fentanyl, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and more, with a vow that anyone caught making and/or dealing illegal drugs in Tarrant County will face the stiffest sentences and fines possible.
"If you deal fentanyl in Tarrant County, we are coming after you," Sorrells says in a statement.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is cheaper to manufacture than other opioids, which is why some dealers substitute it for other substances.
It is available in many forms, including powder, pills, even liquid for nasal sprays or eye droppers.
It's also deadly: Two milligrams of fentanyl, the equivalent of a few grains of table salt, can be lethal.
- In Texas, overdose deaths involving fentanyl rose from 891 in 2020 to 2,189 in 2022, according to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
- So far in 2023, there have been nearly 2,500 overdoses in Tarrant County, many from fentanyl, Fort Worth police records show.
- More than 300 people have died from overdoses this year, according to Tarrant County Medical Examiner's data.
"We are tired of the death and destruction caused by illegal drugs," Sorrells says.
The Tarrant County DA Narcotics Unit will be staffed with experienced prosecutors who will pursue drug cases and work closely with law enforcement agencies in Tarrant County.
This team includes three prosecutors, all who are experienced in prosecuting narcotic cases. A new law that will help: House Bill 6 lets prosecutors charge individuals with murder if they make, sell, or deliver fentanyl to a person who dies from exposure to the drug. No such cases have yet been filed in Tarrant County.
The office will receive around 8,500 drug cases this year.