An organized drug-smuggling operation involved trafficking incredibly high amounts of fentanyl and heroin, as well as cocaine, into the Hampton Roads area—enough fentanyl to kill 14 million people.
Back in August, "Operation Cookout"—an investigation involving more than 120 law enforcement officials—saw an end to a three-state drug-smuggling organization. Drug traffickers operating in Texas, North Carolina, and Virginia were moving acquired drugs here to the Hampton Roads area.
As CBS put it, the amount of fentanyl found by law enforcement was enough to kill 14 million people. A terrifying thought
Seized by officials were "24 firearms, 30 kilograms of [synthetic opioid] fentanyl, 30 kilograms of heroin, 5 kilograms of cocaine, and over $700,000 in cash," per justice.gov.
With 39 people charged, this is the biggest drug bust to happen in Virginia in the last 15 years. Oddly enough, one of the individuals charged ordered fentanyl from Shanghai and had it delivered to Virginia via the mail, which shows just how easy access to drugs can be.
Other suppliers were from Mexico, New York, and California. Traffickers allegedly tried to be cautious with communication, switching out cell phones regularly and using pre-paid devices, but they were unable to avoid detection.
Traffickers were selling these drugs in locations primarily in Newport News and Hampton.
The Eastern District of Virginia US Attorney had the following to say with regard to the recent arrests:
“This massive interdiction of narcotics, which included enough fentanyl to kill over 14 million people, is proof positive of the power and strength of federal, state, and local law enforcement collaboration. The thirty-nine charged defendants are just that—charged—and remain innocent unless and until proven otherwise. This operation, through its seizure of scores of kilograms of illicit narcotics, saved lives in the Eastern District and elsewhere. Any day where we can do that is particularly meaningful and impactful. An incredible thank you to our dedicated law enforcement partners and prosecutors.”
Thankfully, those drugs are now off the streets of Hampton Roads.