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Six arrested by feds in Oil Patch drug ring crackdown

WILLISTON -- A federal indictment naming six people arrested in connection with a Chicago-based drug ring linked to a series of overdoses alleges that the group sold heroin mixed with fentanyl in Williston.

WILLISTON -- A federal indictment naming six people arrested in connection with a Chicago-based drug ring linked to a series of overdoses alleges that the group sold heroin mixed with fentanyl in Williston.

State investigators handed the case over to the FBI this month. The group sold heroin from 2015 until February of this year in North Dakota and “elsewhere,” and “did mix and combine fentanyl into some of the mixture,” the indictment reads.

Sylvester McCurry, 21, and Jamelle Edwards, 22, both of Chicago, and Timothy Amundson, 31, Mariah Slater, 21, Johnny Thompson, 35, and Tanner Nielson, 22, all of Williston, are charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin, and distribution of heroin.

Heroin supplied by the ring was allegedly responsible for seven overdoses, one of which was fatal, over about a week-long stretch in January. Frank Miller, 30, of Williston overdosed two days in a row on drugs allegedly supplied by Thompson, and died Jan. 6.

Authorities say McCurry headed the group, and that one or more members traveled between Chicago and Williston to “obtain and distribute heroin.”

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The six had a reputation for selling a pure form of heroin known as “China White,” which was allegedly laced with fentanyl, a powerful synthetic painkiller. Overdose victims in January immediately lost consciousness after injecting the tainted drugs in Williston. Fentanyl is suspected to be at the root of a handful of overdose deaths several months ago in Fargo, and two such deaths in Grand Forks, N.D., triggered a federal case aimed at ferreting out dealers who sold laced opiates last year.

Related Topics: CRIME
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