NC man arrested with enough fentanyl to kill 272,000+ people, sheriff’s office says

NC man arrested with enough fentanyl to kill 272,000+ people, sheriff’s office says
Wayne Lee Howell (Source: WNCN via Harnett County Sheriff's Office)

LILLINGTON, N.C. (WNCN) – A Lillington man accused of being a drug supplier had enough fentanyl to kill 272,000 or more people, the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday.

An investigation by the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office, DEA, and NCSBI identified Wayne Lee Howell as a supplier of drugs such as heroin, fentanyl, and crystal methamphetamine to nearby counties.

The investigation included traffic stops where deputies seized:

  • $415,180 in cash
  • Approximately 13.2 pounds of heroin
  • 1.5 pounds of fentanyl
  • 13.4 pounds of crystal methamphetamine
  • 2.2 pounds of powder cocaine
  • 52 grams of crack cocaine
  • 4.2 pounds of marijuana

“By estimates of DEA and NCSBI the amount of Fentanyl seized has the potential of killing 272,000 – 300,000 people,” the sheriff’s office said in a release.

A total of four firearms were also seized.

The Harnett County Sheriff’s Office said the seized controlled substances have a North Carolina tax revenue value of $13.2 million.

Howell was arrested on May 2.

He was charged with two counts of trafficking heroin, one count trafficking methamphetamine, PWISD Marijuana, Maintaining a vehicle/dwelling for the purpose of controlled substance, and possession of firearm by a felon.

Howell remains in the Harnett County Detention Center under a $2 million bond.

More charges are expected to to be filed against Howell.

“I would like to recognize the teamwork between all of the assisting agencies that worked countless hours on this investigation. A seizure of this magnitude is a direct reflection of what is happening locally. I know in my heart that putting this criminal in jail has saved lives. I pray daily for the families of individuals that fell victim to this evil. My Office will not stop investigating and arresting these dealers,” Sheriff Wayne Coats said.

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