Lehigh Valley

Bethlehem woman arrested for possessing, selling 'gray death' drug

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Police have arrested a Bethlehem woman, who they say was in possession of a new drug known as 'gray death.'

On Friday, authorities arrested Jennifer Martinez, 31, at her home in the 1200 block of Marvine Street. Police say she was in possession of the drug, as well as marijuana and packaging materials for selling drugs. Authorities also removed three children, ages three through nine from the home. 

Martinez was charged with possession of a controlled substance, endangering the welfare of children, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

"Gray death" can be a lethal mixture of heroin, fentanyl, elephant tranquilizer, and a synthetic opioid. The drug looks like concrete and has already been found in Georgia, Alabama, and Ohio. Users can inject, swallow, smoke or snort it.

Authorities said even touching the drug can be fatal.

"If you are looking for this to get high on, don't, because you are going to use one bag and you are going to cure your addiction. You will die. You will never be addicted to anything else," said Bethlehem Police Chief Mark DiLuzio.

The investigation into Martinez began in April, when detectives received a tip that a drug dealer was operating in the Marvine-Pembroke housing area. Police say the purported heroin being sold was the new, dangerous opioid combo, 'gray death.' Police say this is the first case in Bethlehem involving the substance. 

Detectives purchased the purported heroin and sent it to be tested. Labratory analysts confirmed the substance was actually a mixture of fentanyl, U-47700, and a trace amount of heroin. U-47700 is approximately 7.5 times more powerful than morphine, and has been linked to at least 46 deaths nationwide.

During a search of Martinez's home, detectives found a white or off-white powder in a cup sitting on the shelf of a kitchen cabinet. The powder matches that obtained during the undercover drug buys.

Police also found marijuana and suspected heroin, as well as various drug paraphernalia, court records show.

Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli issued a warning to law enforcement and citizens about the drug on Monday.

Georgia has already seen 17 deaths from the opioid combo of this year and the state's Bureau of Investigations said it's so powerful the effects may not be able to be reversed with one dose of NARCAN

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