Traffic stops lead to massive seizure of heroin and ‘Gray Death’

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SOUTH CAROLINA – Greenville County Sheriff Will Lewis announced during a press conference Friday that four arrests were made on Interstate 85 and 185 this week, which led to the seizure of over a half-million dollars worth of drugs.

The county’s new interstate interdiction team –consisting of four deputies working to seize illegal drugs, guns, stolen cars, and prevent fugitives from being transported on the county’s interstates– made four major drug busts this week that resulted in 1.2 pounds of a drug known as “Gray Death,” 17.5 pounds of heroin, a half pound of methamphetamine and marijuana.

“Gray Death” is a nickname for a drug that can be lethal with as little as 0.2 milligrams. The deadly cocktail sells for about $10 on the street and includes heroin, fentanyl, an elephant tranquilizer carfentanil, and a synthetic opioid called U-47700, which results in a “concrete-mix” consistency, Lewis described.

The sheriff said “Gray Death” was discovered after a K-9 unit alerted officials to a bus that was pulled over for a moving violation.

Due to how deadly “Gray Death” can be even upon skin contact, deputies are required to use a laser scanner to test the drug during traffic stops. Lewis also mentioned that officials are actively working with veterinarians to devise a solution to protect K-9 units from lethal exposure to the substance, emphasizing that the department would never intentionally put their K-9 unit in danger.

Three other stops made on that same day yielded methamphetamine and heroin.

The seizure of heroin took place during a traffic stop when the motorist struggled to stay in their own lane and was described as an “almost unfathomable” amount being transported on the interstate.

“I’ve never heard – in my entire time in narcotics, my entire time in the DEA task force – I’ve never heard of a 17 and a half pound seizure in South Carolina, ever,” Lewis said.

The total wholesale value of all of the drugs is estimated to be $545,000, with street value reaching up to 70 percent higher, reports Fox Carolina.

Since the inception of the team, Lewis said they have seized more than $46,000 in cash, 70 pounds of illegal narcotics, more than a dozen guns, two stolen cars, arrested three fugitives and made 22 total arrests on the interstate.

The sheriff did not disclose the identities of those arrested and the warrants, citing an ongoing investigation.

However, Lewis did state that he plans to expand the interstate interdiction team to continue the department’s mission to intercept trafficking of drugs and other illegal items.

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