NOVI (WWJ) – A drug bust at an apartment complex in Novi turned up nearly 90 pounds of heroin, some of which could possibly be laced with a deadly chemical that has been blamed for hundreds of lethal overdoses.

The search was carried out Monday by federal agents and the Oakland County Narcotics Investigation Team at Brownstones Apartments near 13 Mile and Novi roads.

According to the six-page criminal complaint, officers entered the second-floor unit around 9:30 a.m. using a key provided by the leasing office after their calls at the door went unanswered. When they entered the apartment, which was “sparsely furnished,” officers found 26-year-old Andre Scott and 51-year-old Adolfo Verdugo-Lopez sitting in the living room, and 22-year-old Manuel Barajas in the bathroom. They also found eight bricks, weighing 11 kilograms, of suspected heroin “clearly visible” on a dining room table.

Click here to read the complaint (.pdf format)

As the rest of the apartment was searched with a K-9 unit, officers found 27.5 kilograms of suspected heroin bricks “in plain view” in a bedroom closet, along with a pile of cash. They also located keys to a vehicle that was rented by Scott. A search of that vehicle, which was parked outside of the apartment, turned up an additional 1.185 kilograms of suspected heroin, which was located under the passenger front seat.

The lead investigator on the case said the suspected drugs were not tested in the field “due to the deadly hazards of powerful opiates such a fentanyl and carfentinal being mixed into powder form narcotics, particularly heroin,” and the threat to his own safety.

Carfentanil is an opioid that’s 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times stronger than fentanyl. It is typically used as a tranquilizer for large animals, such as elephants. Carfentanil is so potent, researchers say a minute dose could easily kill a human — and the drug is especially dangerous because it can be also absorbed through skin contact or inhalation. The substance has been connected to hundreds of deadly overdose cases, including many in the metro Detroit area.

Scott, Verdugo-Lopez and Barajas were all taken into custody. They are expected to appear for a detention hearing Thursday.


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