Local Police Join Investigation Into Tainted Drugs

JUNE 15, 2006 -- Wilmington police have identified the man found dead inside a storage unit Wednesday night. Now investigators want to know if tainted heroin caused his death.

Police found Thomas Carey, 35, dead in a storage unit at Martin Self Storage on Kerr Avenue Wednesday night. Officers say he had used heroin.

Last week Robert Croom, 23, was found dead behind a dumpster at the Canterbury Woods housing complex in Wilmington. Officers say he had also used the drug.

Lieutenant James Varrone says two other Wilmington residents died after using heroin earlier this month.

Authorities across the country are investigating the possibility that a tainted form of the drug is being distributed. They say the heroin is being combined with Fentanyl, a painkiller 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine.

Drug agents are trying to track down the source, but they say part of the problem is that some addicts are actually seeking out the mix because it delivers a more intensified high.

The mixture can shut down a user's respiratory system. If it doesn't kill them, it could cause serious brain injuries.

Local police say they have sent the drugs found at the scene of the recent deaths to the SBI Lab in Raleigh.

Reported by Kacey Gaumer