DOJ Announces Major Fentanyl Arrest of Chinese Nationals

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has indicted eight Chinese nationals and arrested two for alleged fentanyl manufacturing, distribution and more, a move that current and former federal officials confirmed to Newsweek ahead of the announcement.

Three China-based chemical companies and eight Chinese nationals were charged with conspiracy to manufacture and distribute fentanyl, the DOJ said during a Friday press conference. Prosecutors said two of the eight employees have been taken into custody, including a corporate executive and marketing manager.

“When companies and employees, including those in the C-suite knowingly fuel the fentanyl crisis, they will be held to account. We will expose them as drug traffickers,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said.

Read the full article on

Eastern Carolina County holds public opioid settlement discussion

By Alyssa Hefner

Published: Jun. 20, 2023 at 9:03 PM EDT

BEAUFORT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) – Beaufort County will receive a little over $3 million over the next 18 years in the opioid settlement, and Tuesday community members were able to discuss how they want to distribute it.

“When I first found out that my son had passed away from fentanyl, it was the Monday after we had his funeral on Saturday, so before then, I didn’t even know what illicit fentanyl was,” said Beaufort County resident Allena Hale.

The mother of Mikey Boyd, who passed away because of a fentanyl overdose back in March of 2022, was one of the community members to voice her opinion at Tuesday’s Behavioral Health Task Force Collaborative meeting.

“I don’t think there’s one simple solution it’s going to be efforts of parents; it’s going to be efforts of law enforcement, department agencies, EMS – it’s going to be all hands on deck to kind of combat this epidemic,” said Hale.

Read the full article and watch the video on the WITN web site.

Winston-Salem mother searches for answers after son dies from fentanyl overdose

For six long months, Andrea Scales didn’t know for sure how her only son died.

It took that long for a toxicology screen run by the state medical examiner’s office to come back with a ruling: fentanyl poisoning.

Someone slipped her son what he surely thought was a Percocet pill. Instead, the pill contained fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid similar to morphine, and it took his life.

Jeremiah “J5” Scales, an accomplished athlete at Parkland High School, was 19 years old.

“I knew nothing about fentanyl … one Percocet doesn’t kill you,” Scales said. “It was the last thing I ever expected.”

Now, a little over a year since she buried Jeremiah, she’s decided to see if she could save another mother from feeling the same crushing pain.

She allowed a photo of her son to be included on a month-long billboard campaign to educate and raise awareness about an epidemic that has killed thousands of North Carolinians.

“It just hurts … extremely painful to live without your only child,” Scales said. “Yes, I’m all for educating other people about it and doing whatever I can do.”

Read the full article on the Winston-Salem Journal website (subscription may be required).

Victims’ families fight illicit fentanyl in North Carolina, speak during local event

WATAUGA — The Fentanyl Victims Network of North Carolina and Forgotten Victims of North Carolina hosted an invitation-only event at App Ski Mtn. on Saturday, June 3, to provide victims’ loved ones the opportunity to share their story and honor their children, siblings and parents lost to illicit fentanyl poisoning.

The Fentanyl Victims Network of North Carolina Executive Director Barb Walsh lost her 24 year-old daughter Sophia in 2021 to fentanyl poisoning. Sophia, an App State graduate and successful business woman, was visiting someone in Banner Elk and is thought to have unknowingly consumed a drink laced with illicit fentanyl. While the case closed with no charges pursued, Walsh is committed to bringing awareness to the dangers of fentanyl poisoning and advocate for justice for victims and their families.

Loved ones of illicit fentanyl victims Timothy Daniel Cothron, Alex Bradford, Heaven Nelson, Michiko Duff Marshall Abbott and Brianna Culpepper spoke about their experiences. NC Department of Justice Community Partnership and Outreach Coordinator Holly Jones, NC District 93 Rep. Ray Pickett and Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page discussed progress and intended actions related to fighting illicit fentanyl.

Read the full article on the Watauga Democrat website.

Local mom wants to spread awareness of the dangers of fentanyl

By Tessa Bradshaw at the Kernersville News June 1, 2023.

On Monday, 18 billboards went up around the Triad with faces of those the community has lost due tofentanyl poi­soning. One of those faces was Walker­ town local Christian Wilson who died from fentanyl poisoning in 2019. The billboard reads, ‘join us and fight illicit fentanyl.Christian, Forever 19.

Christian’s mother, Crystal Wilson, of Walkertown, has made it her mission to help others who are going through this and to also help bring awareness to the rising issue of fentanyl in the county, state and country.

She explained that the 18 “angels” on the billboards, including her son, are only a fraction of the people that North Caro­lina has lost to fentanyl poisoning.

We say poisoning, not overdose. It is a poisoning because they don’t know what they’re taking.

An overdose is taking too much of a known substance.They don’tknow that this is there, so it’s considered a poisoning.

Crystal Wilson

This article is not available online, to read the full story from the Kernersville News, download the PDF scan of the article.

Burdened after Death: What you should know about North Carolina’s autopsy crisis

A severe autopsy backlog in North Carolina has added to the financial and emotional burdens of grieving families, a Charlotte Observer and News & Observer investigation revealed.

Here are three takeaways from Burdened after Death:

When people in North Carolina die unexpectedly, required medical investigations usually take more than 20 weeks. In nearly 1,400 cases since 2020, they took more than a year.

That crisis heaps more burdens on grieving family members during one of the worst periods of their lives. Some can’t touch funds they are entitled to inherit, leaving their biggest bills unpaid. Many must wait months for the answer to a burning question: Why did their loved one die?

The system is bogged down chiefly because there are too many bodies and too few pathologists and toxicologists to handle the load.

Read the full article on the Raleigh News and Observer web site.

NC’s major autopsy delays impact families, law enforcement

When someone dies unexpectedly in North Carolina, it can take months, or even more than a year, before a required autopsy is completed. The state’s huge delays leave families wondering and in limbo, unable to move on and do crucial things like claim insurance money. That’s according to an investigation by the The Charlotte Observer and News and Observer of Raleigh, which found the delays have grown significantly worse over the past decade.

Joining us now to talk more about it is The Charlotte Observer’s Ames Alexander, one of the reporters who wrote the story.

Read the full article or listen to the interview on the WFAE website.

WCSO arrests woman for death by distribution, first charge of it’s kind in Watauga

Other man to face similar charges once released from jail on unrelated case

WATAUGA — The Watauga County Sheriff’s Office has charged a woman with death by distribution in what is the first charge of its kind in the county.

Angelina G. Miller, 30, was arrested by the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday, June 3, after WCSO notified Alexander County that she was likely in the area.

The secured bond for the death by distribution charge was set at $500,000 by Alexander County Magistrate’s Office. She received a court date for June 28, at 9 a.m. in Watauga County District Court.

According to the Watauga County warrant, Miller allegedly “unlawfully, willfully, and feloniously did sell narcotics, Fentanyl, which” killed someone due to an overdose of the Fentanyl. The warrant notes that the “offender did not act with malice.”

Read the full article on the Watauga Democrat website.