We will never know how many lives were saved by the pinpoint policing efforts of three Lima police officers on bike patrol in downtown Lima. If what happened in Hamilton County a year ago is any indication, it could have been mind-numbing.
At about 8:30 a.m. Thursday, the officers noticed two people acting suspiciously in the parking lot of the McDonald’s restaurant on West Market Street. After checking their vehicle, Lt. Andy Green, Sgt. Nick Hart and Patrolman Chad Kunkleman found 57 grams of Carfentanil along with a large amount of cash.
Carfentanil is the new terror of the heroin epidemic. Death is its first side effect. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency calls it the most potent commercial opioid in the world, noting it is 10,000 times stronger than morphine. The drug is used by veterinarians to sedate large zoo animals such as elephants. A dose the size of a grain of salt can kill a person. Veterinarians who administer it use gloves and face masks to prevent exposure.
Hamilton County saw the destructive nature of Carfentanil a year ago in August. At least 96 heroin users overdosed in a week’s time from heroin that was believed to have been laced with Carfentanil. As is, the home of Cincinnati ended the year with 177 heroin-related deaths, an average of one every two days.
On Thursday in Lima, it was good, old-fashioned police work by Green, Hart and Kunkleman that led to the arrests of Nancy Garza, 32, of Lima, and Shawn Starcher, 29, of Parkersburg, West Virginia. Lima police had been targeting the area around the downtown McDonald’s after receiving complaints of criminal activity. The officers were quick to react when they noticed Garza and Starcher acting suspiciously. It’s an example of the effectiveness of pinpoint policing.
The amount of Carfentanil seized has some believing it may be one of the biggest busts of its kind in the country. That has not been confirmed.
Police are now trying to determine if all the seized Carfentanil was intended for distribution in the surrounding area. They want to know where it came from and who it was to be delivered to. In that regard, police investigators need the cooperation of the courts to obtain search warrants of the suspects’ property, including cell phones.
Now is the time to play hardball against those drug dealers that have caused so many funerals, sent so many mothers falling to their knees in heartache.
We can only hope what was a major arrest by the Lima Police Department leads to even more and bigger arrests in the future.