Suffolk County prosecutors say they are investigating whether a recent surge in overdoses is because there is fentanyl-laced cocaine on Long Island, prompting warnings to abstain from the drug during the upcoming Memorial Day weekend and summer.
“My Office is investigating whether the presence of a deadly mixture of fentanyl-laced cocaine is responsible for causing overdoses in Suffolk County,” District Attorney Timothy D. Sini said in a statement Friday. “We are issuing a ‘buyer beware’ notice for the holiday weekend and the upcoming weeks. If you use cocaine, you are playing Russian roulette with your life.”
Fatal and nonfatal drug overdoses have increased 16 percent in Suffolk County in 2020 compared to the same time last year, Sini said.
The pandemic has reduced the cocaine supply on the streets, and Sini said law enforcement personnel believe dealers are lacing the drug with the deadly opioid fentanyl to drive up their profits.
“Dealers are becoming desperate and greedy for profits, so we believe they may be deceiving their customers and selling them fentanyl, which is cheaper and more readily available,” Sini said.
Earlier this week, Riverhead Town Police responded to three overdoses, one which turned fatal, officials said.
A female is suspected of suffering an opioid overdose about 3 a.m. Wednesday. That night, shortly after 10 p.m., Riverhead police responded to two males who overdosed. First responders used Narcan on one of the victims, who was dead at the scene, officials said.
The three overdoses were connected to using cocaine, according to a preliminary investigation, Sini said.
Riverhead Town police on Friday arrested Tarell Holloway, 32, of Riverhead in connection with the fatal overdose, authorities said. He faces multiple drug charges and is expected to be arraigned Saturday.
In addition to the local overdoses, there have been 19 overdoses, three of which were fatal, in upstate Troy in less than 48 hours from fentanyl-laced cocaine, officials said.
Sini announced Thursday the arrest of 15 suspects allegedly involved in a multimillion dollar drug trafficking operation. The defendants were marking up the price of cocaine because of the pandemic, Sini said.