Butler sheriff: Traffic stop leads to seizure of enough fentanyl to kill 1.5 million people

K-9 discovered illegal drugs after driver, passenger displayed ‘nervous behavior.’

HAMILTON — A traffic stop Saturday afternoon on Ohio 4 led Butler County Sheriff Deputies to confiscate enough fentanyl to kill 1.5 million people, or everyone living in Cincinnati and Columbus, according to Sheriff Richard K. Jones.

The driver of the stopped car, Luis Hernandez-Ramos, 33, and passenger, Douglas Mancias-Martinez, 27, both had Mexican driver’s licenses. They provided conflicting stories and displayed “nervous behavior,” which led to a K-9 vehicle search, Jones said Monday during a press conference.

The traffic stop occurred on Ohio 4 in the city of Monroe, near the fire station, according to records.

Credit: McCrabb, Richard (COP-Dayton)

Credit: McCrabb, Richard (COP-Dayton)

The K-9 alerted and resulted in the seizure of three kilos of fentanyl in vacuum-sealed packages with a street value of $500,000. The driver and passenger were arrested and booked into the Butler County Jail for possession of drugs and trafficking in drugs, first-degree felonies.

Credit: McCrabb, Richard (COP-Dayton)

Credit: McCrabb, Richard (COP-Dayton)

The two were arraigned by video Monday when bond for each was set at $40,000, according to court records. They’re being detained on an ICE holder. Their preliminary hearings were set for Wednesday in Area II Court.

Before he knew about the bond, Jones said he would ask the judge for no bond because, if they were released, the two men never will be found again.

“These are serious people,” Jones said.

He said that much fentanyl would kill even more people after it was cut and mixed with different chemicals. He called it “one of our biggest drug busts.”

Jones said he planned to ask Gov. Mike DeWine for more financial resources to fight the illegal drugs entering the U.S. through the Mexican border.

“We have to stop what’s coming over the border,” he said. “The borders are wide open.”

He was joined at the press conference by State Rep. Sara Carruthers, R-Hamilton, and State Rep. Cindy Abrams, R-Cincinnati.

Adams said she introduced House Bill 230 that creates stiffer penalties for drug dealers.

“They know damn well what they’re selling,” she said. “It’s killing Ohioans and it’s heart-breaking.”

Carruthers said this latest drug seizure once again shows the need to close the borders.

“I don’t care what it takes,” she said. “We are in a terrible situation. We have a drug problem. This has to stop.”

Jones hesitated to guess the amount of illegal drugs being transported through the county.

“I can only imagine,” he said. Then he called Saturday’s bust “a tiny percent” of the drugs that are produced in China, shipped to Mexico, then transported into the U.S.

He suggested drug dealers who are frustrated by their competitors notify the sheriff’s office.

“We will take care of them for you,” he said.