Arrests Made in Hawaii Mass Overdose

Couple charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 6, 2023 5:23 PM CDT
Updated Jun 27, 2023 4:43 PM CDT
Police: 2 Dead After Possible Mass Fentanyl Overdose
A police officer displays confiscated fentanyl.   (Jessica Christian /San Francisco Chronicle via AP, File)
UPDATE Jun 27, 2023 4:43 PM CDT

Authorities have arrested a man and woman they say supplied the fentanyl in a mass overdose that left two people dead in a room at an oceanfront Hawaii hotel. Avery Garrard and Keina Drageset are charged with conspiring with each other and others to distribute fentanyl that resulted in death, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday. A search of the couple's apartment in a Honolulu luxury building turned up approximately $100,000 in cash in a safe, along with drugs that tested positive for fentanyl, the complaint said. Honolulu police and paramedics found five people who were either unresponsive or needed medical help at the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort on June 4, the AP reports. The three who survived told Drug Enforcement Administration investigators they had believed the drugs, which were acquired by one of the dead men, were cocaine or MDMA.

Jun 6, 2023 5:23 PM CDT

Two people died in what officials believe was a mass fentanyl overdose over the weekend involving five people in a hotel room in the Hawaii tourist mecca of Waikiki, per the AP. Emergency responders were called to the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort on Sunday morning and found a 44-year-old man who was pronounced dead at the scene. Two men, ages 40 and 53, were taken to a hospital in critical condition. Two women, 53 and 47, were transported in serious condition. Honolulu police said the 53-year-old man later died at the hospital. Police said fentanyl was found at the scene.

Fentanyl is an opioid painkiller many times more powerful than heroin, and typically is prescribed to treat severe pain. It frequently appears as an illegal street drug mixed with other substances, such as heroin. Experts say the growing prevalence of fentanyl in the illicit drug supply is a top driver of the increasing number of overdose deaths in the US.

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It's a growing concern across Hawaii. In May, police on the Big Island became the first department in the state to release fentanyl statistics. The statistics showed that during the first four months of this year, Hawaii Police Department officers made 22 fentanyl arrests and recovered 383.02 grams of fentanyl and 598 fentanyl pills. (More fentanyl stories.)

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