Southeastern PA

Chester DA announces 46 drug arrests in 'Operation Wildfire'

WEST CHESTER, Pa. - Spreading like wildfire, ripping through Pennsylvania, killing kids: It's a nasty picture that Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan painted, describing heroin and opioids.

"For the first four months of [2017], we have 50 drug overdoses," said Hogan. "You don't have to be a math major to figure out that that puts us on track to have 150 drug overdoses in Chester County this year."

For two months, Hogan said his drug detectives did nothing but stop drug dealers in their tracks -- an investigation they call "Operation Wildfire." He said detectives were easily able to get a hold of drugs anywhere in the county, including the western part, which includes Honey Brook.

"We went to Coatesville. That's where Chester County gets its drugs," he said. "We had no trouble buying heroin and buying opioids in the western part of the county."

Nearly 50 alleged dealers have been rounded up in the countywide bust.  Hogan said many dealers are cutting their heroin with fentanyl, which he calls a "killer."

To put this in perspective, Hogan took out a salt shaker and spread a very small amount of salt on his hand.

"If that was fentanyl," Hogan said, "that would be enough to kill four or five of us in this room. If I blow it into the air, anybody around me is going to get sick and could get killed."

Hogan also said an even more potent drug, carfentanil, an elephant tranquilizer also known as "gray death," has made its way to Philadelphia.

"Remember how I said just those few grains of fantanyl will kill you? [Gray death] is 100 times stronger than fentanyl, and one or two grains will kill you," he said. "It's coming, and when [gray death] hits, you'll just see a load of dead people."

Hogan said the "only way" to survive the crisis is by counties, authorities and task forces working together.

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