Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A man peddling a potentially deadly heroin-fentanyl combination, who was shot in a confrontation with police, has died from his wounds

Bill Bryan:

Maurice A. Adkins

Maurice A. Adkins, 27, of the 1200 block of Partridge Avenue in University City, died about 10 p.m. Sunday at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Meanwhile, U.S. drug czar John Walters said Monday that federal agents, working in cooperation with the Mexican government, closed a lab in Mexico that could be the main source of the fentanyl that has killed heroin users in eight states, including Missouri and Illinois.

Walters, the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said it's still not clear whether the fentanyl was mixed with heroin at the lab or after it entered the U.S.

Officials suspect that 20 or more deaths in the St. Louis area are linked to the potent drug combination. Federal officials say there are at least 100 confirmed deaths nationally.

There was no link indicated between Adkins and any of the overdose deaths.

He was shot by two officers about 6 p.m. Thursday following an alleged drug deal in the 7000 block of Raymond Avenue. Police said that Adkins, when told he was under arrest, started to drive off and that an officer's leg got pinned between the open door and door jamb of Adkins' van.

That officer, of the Webster Groves Police Department, was not seriously injured.

Adkins had become a priority of the St. Louis County Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force, officials said, after police heard he was selling heroin-fentanyl mix.

Before he died, Adkins was charged with first-degree assault on a law enforcement officer, possession of a controlled substance and delivering a controlled substance. Police said they found heroin-fentanyl mix in his van.

Walters, the federal drug official, said fentanyl-laced cocaine also has turned up in some cities, and he warned drug users that millions of deadly doses of the fentanyl-heroin combination might still be on the streets.

"There may be more than one source," Walters said in announcing the raid May 28 near Guadalajara. "We think this is the principal source." Lab tests were pending on whether the Mexican drug can be linked to the American deaths. In addition to Missouri, fatalities have been reported in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland, Walters said.

Detroit's deadly epidemic

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Lethal drug likely came to area from Mexican lab

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