Suspected Fentanyl Dealer Arrested Again
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WATER VALLEY – A Water Valley man is behind bars for a second time this year after being arrested for the same offense – allegedly selling fentanyl pills. Yalobusha County Sheriff Jerimaine Gooch reported Matthew Wilson Croy, 28, was arrested by the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department after multiple controlled buys in the neighboring county since his earlier arrest in February.
Croy had been out on bail after he was arrested February 4 on Jones Street in Water Valley following a multi-agency investigation that included the Yalobusha County Sheriff’s Department, Water Valley Police Department and Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics (MBN). MBN agents charged Croy with possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance with intent to distribute and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute in the February arrest.
The February arrest was made after officers executed a search warrant at his residence following numerous tips from the public about pills purchased from Croy that were linked to non-fatal overdoses.
Sheriff Gooch reported a bench warrant was served on Croy after his latest offenses violated the terms of his bail. Croy was transported to the Yalobusha County Detention Center on Tuesday and remains in custody.
“Croy has been a menace to this community and surrounding communities, and our intent is to make sure he remains in jail until his court date,” Gooch explained. “Fentanyl is the leading cause in 90 percent of overdose deaths right now in the State of Mississippi.”
Gooch explained that dealers are selling counterfeit oxycodone pills that often contain fentanyl. He added that there has been an uptick in fentanyl-related overdoses in the county this year, mirroring a trend across the country.
“It is very difficult to prove and prosecute an overdose death from a specific dealer who is selling the dangerous drug,” Gooch explained. “Our focus must be on getting the dealers off the streets and educating the public about the dangers of this drug.”
A report from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) last year noted that counterfeit pills are made to look like prescription opioids – such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and alprazolam; or stimulants like amphetamines – but contain fentanyl or methamphetamine. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.
The DEA report stated that criminal drug networks are mass-producing the fake pills and falsely marketing them as legitimate prescription pills to deceive the American public. The counterfeit pills are widely available and are more lethal than ever before.
Gooch added that the pills are relatively inexpensive, often ranging from $10 to $30 each, and are very small.
“These pills are smaller than the opening of a straw for a drink,” he said. “And sadly, a single pill can contain a lethal dose.”