FATAL DRUGS — Orange County authorities combat dangerous impacts of heroin, fentanyl & meth

Published 12:20 am Saturday, January 21, 2023

VIDOR — The arrests of a two people last week and another on Thursday on drug charges, in theory, saves lives by taking dangerous people and narcotics off the streets.

Drugs seized during a Jan. 12 raid and arrest in Vidor included amounts of heroin/fentanyl and methamphetamine.

A detective with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, whose name is not being disclosed due to the nature of his work, said drugs are poisoning the community. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is especially dangerous in that even a small amount could kill someone.

“Any amount of fentanyl is too much,” the detective said when speaking of the dangerousness of the drug. “We potentially saved one or 100 people’s lives. We potentially saved the people who were selling it if they were using it, as well.”

Orange County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Division personnel, with assistance from the criminal investigations division, patrol divisions and Vidor Police Department, executed the narcotics search and arrest warrant Jan. 12 at 790 W. Tram Road in Vidor.

The search warrant followed an investigation into the distribution of heroin and fentanyl in Southeast Texas near Vidor.

The detective said authorities learned of the drugs after receiving complaints from residents. During the investigation the detective said he witnessed a transaction occur.

Besides the drugs found inside a trailer, law enforcement also allegedly found paraphernalia for distribution, including baggies and digital scales, as well as two handguns.

Glen Earl Hornton Jr. and Paula Yvette Wilcox were arrested on charges of manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance, heroin/fentanyl and possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine.

Then this week a Narcotics Division search in the 400 block of Byrd Street in Vidor led to a suspected gang member’s arrest, drug confiscation and the discovery of stolen property.

Methamphetamine, ecstasy, hydrocodone and distribution paraphernalia were located inside the residence.

Christopher Paul Kirbow was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and possession of ecstasy.

Popularity of opioids

The detective has been in law enforcement for 12 years, but it’s only been in the past three years he’s seen the rise in the abundance of heroin and fentanyl. He believes this has a lot to do with the open border.

In the 12 years in law enforcement he had only found heroin twice; now he finds it on a daily basis.

He spoke of the opioid epidemic and how it spread, saying with prescriptions higher in cost, street level drugs are more potent and cheaper.

Dealers use different ingredients and a pill press to make the street drugs appear legitimate.

Fentanyl is sometimes used to cut the drugs, and users who are chemically dependent are at danger.

“We have started seeing fentanyl called ‘grey death’ that people are injecting into their bodies,” the detective said. “The people who are doing it say they are flipping a quarter.”

Fentanyl is used as an analgesic, and paramedics keep it on hand for traumatic injuries, he said.  And it is used as anesthesia.

“A small amount can kill you,” he said, adding those who are dependent on the drug build up a tolerance to it.

A gram, he said, is about the size of an artificial sweetener packet. This amount for people who have never used the drug is fatal and could kill at least 10 people.

Vidor Police Chief Rod Carroll can attest to the danger of the drug, saying they have had several deaths due to fentanyl. But a toxicology report can take two to three months to return to become available.

“It is also a danger to law enforcement when dealing with drugs cut with fentanyl; meth and heroin, fake Oxycontin and fake Xanax,” Carroll said.

When dealing with the drugs, officers make sure to wear gloves to avid getting the residue on their skin, he said.

The detective said police officers are continuing to target those selling drugs as well as those who may overdose to see if there is a link between the overdosed individual and the ones selling the drugs.

— Written by Mary Meaux