Woonsocket Police arrest 20 people as part of opioid crackdown

WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WLNE)-  Woonsocket Police arrested 20 people on drug-related charges in an effort to crackdown on opioids and fentanyl.

The Woonsocket Fentanyl Initiative started in May after police noticed a spike in overdoses during the pandemic. The unit specifically focused on opioids and fentanyl dealers.

“These individuals charged were poisoning people in this community,” Woonsocket Police Chief, Thomas Oates, said.  “They were actually potentially killing people in this community.”

There were arrests up until as recently as Monday night when one of the dealers was arrested in a Walgreens parking lot.

During another arrest, police say they found a gun and drugs hidden under a passenger seat.

“We had information that it was somewhere in a vehicle. Our officers have been through training to recognize things whether its hinges or different wiring in cars,” said Detective Captain Adam Remick.

One of the largest busts took place at a home in Providence, where police say they found over $70,000 in cash.

Attorney General Peter Neronha said that arrests alone won’t solve the opioid problem.

“We need to make sure those that need help get the help they need to break the cycle of addiction,” Neronha said.

The Woonsocket Police Department partners with organizations that help provide recovery services, like the Hope Initiative.

“Anything we can do on the prevention aspect of it and get those who need treatment, that’s the direction we are headed in but we will never lose focus on the enforcement efforts,” said Chief  Oates.

In total, the Woonsocket Police  Department seized approximately a kilo of fentanyl, fentanyl pills, suboxone, methamphetamine, cocaine, and a variety of other prescriptions and pills.

They also seized a total of over $130,000 dollars in cash.

©WLNE-TV/ABC6 2020

Categories: News