6 arrested after surge of suspected overdoses in Austin

Austin police arrested six people after a surge of suspected overdoses in the city. Nine people died in what was described as the largest opioid overdose outbreak in a decade in Austin.

The six people have all been charged with felony possession or delivery of a controlled substance, but Austin police said they have not been connected directly to the victims of the overdoses last week.

"The purpose of these operations was to try to identify dealers responsible and the source of the narcotics which caused the overdoses," Austin Police Department Lt. Patrick Eastlick said.

It started on Monday, April 29, when Austin-Travis County EMS reported a 1,000% increase in call volumes related to a deadly batch of narcotics.


"We haven't seen a spike in overdoses of any kind like this since we dealt with K2 in 2015," Austin-Travis County EMS Capt. Christa Stedman said.

Within less than a week, ATEMS reported 79 overdoses and the medical examiner’s office reported as many as nine deaths.

In an effort to try to get the distributors of the drugs off the streets, APD conducted an undercover operation.

Court documents revealed Austin police officers started a targeted investigation on April 30, and were watching a home on Carver Avenue. They arrested 45-year-old Ronnie Lamar Mims for fentanyl laced cocaine in his pants pockets after Narcan was administered on a man he was with. Mims was charged with third-degree felony possession of a controlled substance.

Ronnie Mims (Austin Police Department)

On May 2, Austin police officers watched the North Lamar Boulevard area. Officers said they found 50-year-old Gary Joseph Lewis and 47-year-old Denise Horton in a car with baggies of drugs, distributing them, and received money from a dealer. The marijuana found in the car tested positive for fentanyl. Lewis and Horton were arrested for second-degree felony fentanyl possession.

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Gary Lewis (Austin Police Department)

Later that afternoon, officers arrested 30-year-old Marcellus Dion Barron and 32-year-old Kanady Arkangelo Rimijo for selling suspected crack cocaine to an undercover officer. Rimijo also had marijuana in his jacket pocket. All of them tested positive for fentanyl. Rimijo was charged with first-degree felony delivery of a controlled substance and Barron was charged with second-degree felony delivery of a controlled substance.

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Marcellus Barroin (Austin Police Department)

On May 3, 27-year-old Guy Len Allen was arrested after he and another man were involved in a drug deal with a homeless person on Neches Street. Officers also found meth-faced marijuana in his car near St. David’s Day School which is a drug-free zone. Allen was charged with first-degree felony possession with intent to distribute.

"It is concerning to us not only with marijuana but all the substances that are being mixed with fentanyl, and it’s a concern that all people should have when consuming illicit narcotics and that’s one of the risks with it, you really don’t know what’s in it," Eastlick said.

Austin-Travis County EMS said opioid overdoses had returned to their usual level yesterday. APD said they can’t confirm the bad batch of narcotics is out of Austin though.