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Fentanyl busts and overdoses has local agencies working around the clock

"You murder people. You are a murderer. I hope you know that you're not just making a dollar or two," Michael Land, a father, directed at drug makers and sellers.

DALLAS — The number of fentanyl-related drug cases has skyrocketed over the last 36 months. Collin, Cooke and Tarrant Counties all had significant developments in the fight to get the deadly substance off the streets.

"With only two milligrams of fentanyl, that is a deadly dose for a non-opioid dependent person. That is 2% of a sugar packet that is on a table top," said Eduardo Chavez of the Dallas Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Michael Land of Collin County will forever remember Jan. 5, 2021. It was the day he lost his 25-year-old son to a fentanyl overdose. His son thought he was taking a Percocet pill and it was almost entirely fentanyl according to Land.

"In a way, it was the end of the world for me. What else do I have to live for?" Land said.

Eduardo Chavez says fentanyl-laced drugs are too commonplace. On the list of DEA priorities it has topped the list edging out methamphetamines. This week, Collin County sought out a drug dealer responsible for the overdose death of a 29-year-old.

"Investigators assigned to the Collin County Sheriff's Office Gang and Habitual Offender Strike Team (GHOST) began an investigation to identify the dealer responsible for selling the Fentanyl-laced drugs that killed this victim.  After a thorough investigation, GHOST Investigators identified the suspect and on September 12, 2022 Collin County Judge Lindsey Wynne, 468th District Court signed an Arrest Warrant charging Gabriel Aldo Fossatti, a resident of Princeton, Texas with Manufacture or Delivery of a Controlled Substance Causing Death or Serious Bodily Injury, a 2nd Degree Felony," read a press release from Collin County. 

Collin County has seen a 571% increase in the number of Fentanyl-related drug overdose deaths in the past 36 months.  

In Cooke County, authorities seized 22 pounds of heroin laced with fentanyl. 

Tarrant County made history with a drug bust dating back to last week.

"On September 6, 2022, the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office Combined Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET), along with the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team and Fort Worth Police Tactical Medics executed a search warrant on a Tarrant County residence. The hard work of our CNET team has resulted in more deadly fentanyl and guns being taken off the streets of Tarrant County. More than two thousand grams of pure, uncut Fentanyl was seized in the largest seizure of Fentanyl ever in Tarrant County. That amount of Fentanyl is capable of more than one million fatal doses," read the Sheriff's Office press release.

Michael Land admits he was angry at first. But he has come to peace since his son's death. He doesn't know who provided Preston with the drugs but this father has forgiven him. He says getting to a point of forgiveness came with time, reflection, and faith work through his church. 

But he still has this to say to those responsible: "You murder people. You are a murderer. I hope you know that you're not just making a dollar or two."

The DEA tells us Mexican criminal drug-trafficking gangs are responsible for the proliferation of the drug and groups in China are responsible for providing the raw material to make the substance. 

"It is a full-court press to identifying those networks here in the United States," said Chavez.

There is little distinction between real and counterfeit pills. What is real is a parent's pain.

"He was it in our family. He was the last one. He was going to carry on the name," Michael said of his son Preston.

He says his son was not an addict. But he did experiment with drugs in high school. Michael now makes speeches warning parents and kids for what to look out for.

"My ultimate goal is to help one person," Michael said.

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