TC Palm News –
Gray Death is a combination of fentanyl, heroin and carfentanil
MARTIN COUNTY — The Martin County Sheriff’s Office has arrested 23 people over the last four months on multiple charges related to the sale and trafficking of fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, crystal meth, crack cocaine and “grey death.”
One person — who was arrested and posted bond — later died of an overdose, Maj. John Budensiek, who headed the operation, announced at a news conference Thursday at the Sheriff’s Office.
He said seven additional arrests are expected.
A significant increase in drug overdose fatalities in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic sparked the Sheriff’s Office to begin this investigation, Budensiek said.
A majority of the drugs were brought up from Palm Beach County or farther south, Budensiek said. Nine of the people arrested were not Martin County residents.
Officials did not provide a specific quantity of drugs seized.
“It’s alarming to me,” Budensiek said, saying the current fentanyl crisis pales in comparison to the crack cocaine epidemic in the 1990s.
There was no one “ring leader” of the operation, he said. The majority of cases are not related.
Three stood out from the rest.
Miguel DeJesus Torres, 56, whose address was unavailable, faces a felony charge of trafficking fentanyl and possession of about 250 grams of “grey death,” which is relatively new to the Treasure Coast.
It is a combination of fentanyl, heroin and carfentanil — a synthetic opioid often used as a tranquilizer for elephants or large animals.
This is the third time “grey death” has been seen in Martin County, Budensiek said, but it’s the first instance of the drug being sold on the streets.
The amount confiscated by law enforcement was worth about $25,000.
Torres was arrested Oct. 12 and is being held on $250,000 bond in the Martin County Jail.
Ryan Matthew Sheldon, 29, of Okeechobee, faces six charges in connection to possessing of over 200 grams of cocaine and 17 pounds of Xanax powder in two separate arrests Aug. 21 and Aug. 25, according to arrest affidavits.
Sheldon also had a pill press machine in a Tequesta garage in the 19000 block of Southeast Hillcrest Drive — a device Budensiek said he has never come across in his 16 years working with narcotics.
Budensiek said Sheldon was making Xanax pills with the 200-pound machine, which can be used to press up to 5,000 pills per hour. Xanax is commonly used to treat anxiety and panic disorder.
The 17 pounds of powder seized could have made 35,000 pills, he said.
It’s possible other drugs could have been thrown into the mix when making the Xanax pills, Budensiek speculated, which can be deadly.
“If you (buy Xanax) off the street, you’re dancing with the devil in the sense that you hope that it’s Xanax…and the right dosage,” Budsensiek said. “Or, God forbid, it can also be fentanyl. We’ve had intelligence saying that fentanyl has been stamped and sold as Xanax.”
Sheldon is being held without bond on three of the charges he faces at the Martin County Jail.
Eleven arrests were made in the Twin Rivers mobile home park in Hobe Sound on charges ranging from possession of or trafficking fentanyl and cocaine, Budensiek said.
There was no one leader responsible for the drug trade in this community, either, Budensiek said. Residents would buy fentanyl down south, come back up and sell it among each other.
The Martin County Sheriff’s Office has responded to 190 overdoses — 34 of which were fatal — so far this year. Budensiek said they’re on track to respond to double the 28 overdose fatalities they recorded last year.
The uptick in overdoses could be related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Budensiek said, due to job loss, stress and being cooped up at home.
The solution: Education, Budensiek said.
Several fatalities have been people abusing drugs and not realizing it could be a deadly concoction. Enforcement is also key, he said, because the judicial system aims to help and not hurt these people.
“We hope to get them help,” he said. “A lot of these people are seller-users … we’re hoping to save a lot of these people from themselves.”Carfentanil Counterfeit Xanax Fentanyl Gray Death Heroin Pill Press