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Federal and state authorities seize Fentanyl, arrest 90 suspects in takedown of multi-state drug ring

April 21, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Federal and state authorities seize Fentanyl, arrest 90 suspects in takedown of multi-state drug ring

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Federal, state and local officials collaborated on Tuesday to take down a drug ring working across West Virginia, Michigan, and Ohio, arresting over 90 suspects and confiscating what they referred to as enough fentanyl to murder a quarter million people.

The Peterson drug-trafficking group had been operating for more than 20 years, according to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Roughly 200 officers participated in the busted called Operation Saigon Sunset on the drug ring, which operated out of Huntington, West Virginia, a struggling city of 49,000 residence with the most severe drug problem in the state.

“Today is a turning point for Huntington and in the war against the opiate nightmare,” Sessions stated.

The West Virginia National Guard was dispatched to provide support for officers involved in the Huntington arrests, the Herald-Dispatch reported.

Among those apprehended were Manget Peterson, who was arrested in Huntington, and his brother, Willie Peterson, who was arrested in Detroit. Both individuals, who are the purported ringleaders, have been charged with conspiring to distribute heroin and fentanyl.

The other members of the group have been hit with various federal and state charges.

Willie Peterson, federal authorities indicated in a statement, was “the leader and supplier of the organization.”

The Peterson gang distributed kilo quantities of heroin in Huntington, West Virginia, on an almost weekly basis, using a network of redistributors.

The brothers have been under investigation for more than a year.

The DEA launched an investigation against Willie Peterson after a search of his residence in Detroit last year resulted in the seizure of 360 grams of fentanyl. That, in turn, resulted in the identification of two of his suppliers in Detroit and the seizure earlier this month of 760 grams of heroin, 450 grams of fentanyl and 167 grams of cocaine.

Meanwhile, West Virginia drug task force detectives raided searched Manget Peterson’s home and a hotel room in 2017 where his associated were dealing heroin.

“These searches resulted in the seizure of two handguns, 70 half-gram baggies of heroin, and other evidence of drug trafficking,” the statement said.

It was not revealed in the statement why the brothers weren’t arrested until Tuesday.

The three states the gang is said to have worked in are among the hardest hit by the lethal opioid plague, which led to the deaths 42,000 people in 2016.

Roughly 909 people were killed in West Virginia of drug overdoses last year, and 183 of those deaths took place in Cabell County, which is where Huntington is located.

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