Sheriff Jim Arnott discusses opioid crisis

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A fourth death linked to a suspected overdose was confirmed in Springfield today, Oct. 24, since late last week, almost fifty overdoses in total have occurred in Springfield.

Now, law enforcement is on the hunt for the dealers of these drugs.

We’re still waiting on autopsies, but Sheriff Jim Arnott says these overdoses have a common theme.

Heroin, laced with the powerful and deadly opioid, fentanyl and an even stronger version called carfentanil, Arnott says these types of investigations can be difficult.

“It’s something that we haven’t seen in the past,” Arnott said. “Especially in a one week period.”

With a fourth person dead from a suspected overdose, Arnott says that people feel there is a sense of urgency to get to the source of these drugs. There have been almost 50 total overdoses across Springfield since last week, including inside the Greene County Jail.

“We know that someone got some into the jail,” Arnott said. “We’re tightening as much as we can, but unfortunately people smuggle stuff in their body orifices that we cannot check. When that happens, we end up with a product in the jail.”

He says none of those overdoses were fatal, but one person was dead for four minutes before being revived with Narcan and CPR.

They traced that string of overdoses back to what he calls a “low-level” drug dealer.

But as far as the big picture goes across town, he says they are starting to make headway there.

“We do search warrants probably two or three times a week, we get information, we go develop informants, and we do undercover buys,” Arnott said. “We do a lot of those things.”

Arnott says the toughest aspect is getting people to come forward with information out of fear they could get themselves in trouble.

“It’s very challenging, but when you start looking at people’s lives, people change their mind a little bit and realize that something needs to be done,” Arnott said.

“People are starting to come forward because of people they know that have overdosed and died from this deadly combination, but we need more people to come forward and give us as much information as we can so we can strengthen our case and take it to the prosecutor,” Arnott said.

When asked if there could be murder charges for those dealing the drugs leading to these deaths Arnott said “absolutely.”

They believe the heroin is coming from Mexico and being distributed here, but they aren’t sure if the drugs are being laced there or here locally.

If you have information on the dealers responsible call the Greene County hotline for tips 417-829-6230.

You can remain anonymous.

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