Howard County's battle against opioid distribution continued this week as police on Tuesday arrested a Cheverly man and charged him with distributing opioids and other drugs in the county.
Police arrested Alexis Escobar, 34, as a suspected drug dealer as part of an ongoing investigation by county narcotics detectives, according to a statement from police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn.
As part of the ongoing investigation, the department received a search warrant for Escobar's car, a 2006 Toyota Prius, and on Monday night located the car in the 8700 block of Washington Boulevard in Jessup. Officers then observed Escobar engage in what appeared to be a drug sale, according to the statement.
Officers allegedly found drugs in Escobar's possession and in his car, and charged him with five counts of controlled dangerous substance possession with intent to distribute, two of which were to distribute narcotics. They also charged him with four counts of controlled dangerous substance posession - not marijuana.
Escobar was released on Tuesday from the Howard County Detention Center on $75,000 bail. No attorney was listed for Escobar.
Detectives are awaiting test results to confirm the specific drugs found in Escobar's arrest, but suspect them to be Oxycodone, Xanax, cocaine, buprenorphine and marijuana. They are also awaiting confirmation on whether the drugs contained fentanyl, a synthetic opioid more potent than morphine or heroin that has been found in some drugs sold in Howard County, according to the statement.
Between January and July of this year, almost 8 percent of "items" recovered by police in the county have tested positive for fentanyl, according to Llewellyn.
Fentanyl-related overdose deaths in the county more than doubled in the first three months of this year compared to the same time period in 2016. Between January and March of this year, 11 people died from fentanyl-related causes, compared to five people during that same period last year, according to data from the Maryland Department of Health.