Fort Wayne police are calling it the largest haul of fentanyl pills the department can remember.
This week, an 18-year-old woman was charged with narcotic drug dealing and misdemeanor marijuana possession after police pulled her over in a traffic stop and found nearly five pounds of pills containing fentanyl in two bundles wrapped in a hoodie sweatshirt under the driver's seat floorboard.
She told narcotics officers she picked up the drugs in Detroit.
Madison Morgan McCoy of New Haven was pulled over in mid-June about 2 a.m. as she drove a black 2007 Audi with Texas license plates on St. Joe Center Road, just west of Indiana 37. Police said she failed to signal a lane change when she drove onto Interstate 469 from a ramp from U.S. 24, and she was also seen driving 62 mph in a 55 mph zone, court documents said.
The pills, estimated to cost $20 each on the streets, tested positive for 3-methylfentanyl, xylazine and acetaminophen, more commonly known as Tylenol, according to Capt. Kevin Hunter, who oversees part of the Fort Wayne Police Department's vice and narcotics unit.
Confiscation of these pills, known as counterfeit oxycodone M30s or fake Percocet, will save lives, according to Nate Moellering, a recovering addict who heads up Bare Knuckle Recovery with Tommy Streeter.
“My impression is it's a huge win for law enforcement trying to assist community partners in stemming the overdose deaths. We're seeing a ton of young people from 14 to 25 dying from fentanyl overdoses because they're being told it's fake Percocet,” said Moellering, who described xylazine as a muscle relaxant. “A bust of this size could help slow down the amount of fake pills being sold in high schools and middle schools.”
Moellering added that the pills are also a danger to inmates released from local jails who go back to taking the pills but their drug tolerance is diminished.
“Some people do half a pill and some people do a whole pill. That's the problem. There's no quality control. You don't know how much fentanyl is in them, and 2 milligrams is enough to be fatal,” Moellering said.
Theresa Juillerat, whose son Chris died from one pill containing fentanyl in May 2020, said it could have been half a pill that killed her son, she said.
“We'll never know. The tolerance level does factor in there,” said Juillerat, who is on the leadership team of JAVA, or Justice Accountability Victim Advocacy, and heads up the local Black Balloon Release, a national program to commemorate drug overdose victims.
“How many lives were saved in that one confiscation? I cannot imagine in my mind even the quantity of pills. If it takes a granule of fentanyl to kill someone, how many granules are in those five pounds of pills?” she said.
Hunter said police can't say more on the arrest or drugs because the matter is an ongoing investigation.
When McCoy stepped out of her car, she told officers she had marijuana in her vehicle. A police dog found the two bundles with multiple vacuum-sealed bags containing the pills. Two marijuana roaches were found in ashtrays, court documents said.
McCoy told the officers a man she didn't know in Fort Wayne gave her money to drive to Detroit to pick up the packages, and another man she also didn't know placed the package in her car. McCoy also claimed she didn't know what the package contained, court documents said.
McCoy was released on $50,000 bond Tuesday, a jail spokesman said. She has a court hearing scheduled for Aug. 18.