Tarrant County District Attorney Phil Sorrells has established a specialized unit dedicated to tackling narcotics-related cases, with a particular focus on substances such as fentanyl, methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine.
The new initiative aims to impose the harshest possible sentences and fines on individuals involved in the production and distribution of illegal drugs within Tarrant County. District Attorney Sorrells emphasized the severity of consequences for those dealing in fentanyl, citing its addictive and deadly nature.
"Fentanyl is addictive and deadly," Sorrells warned, pledging to actively pursue individuals engaged in its illegal trade. He asserted, "We are going to get the people who sell this poison off the streets," underscoring the commitment to community safety.
Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid known for its lethality, has become a growing concern in Texas. Its affordability in comparison to other opioids has led some dealers to substitute it for other substances. Available in various forms, including powder, pills, and liquid, even minute amounts can prove lethal.
Disturbingly, overdose deaths involving fentanyl in Texas surged from 891 in 2020 to 2,189 in 2022, according to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services. In Tarrant County alone, records from Fort Worth police indicate nearly 2,500 overdoses in 2023, with more than 300 resulting in fatalities, as reported by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's data.
The newly established Tarrant County DA Narcotics Unit is comprised of experienced prosecutors dedicated to diligently pursuing drug cases. The team, consisting of three seasoned prosecutors with expertise in narcotic cases, collaborates closely with local law enforcement agencies.
To strengthen their legal arsenal, the unit benefits from House Bill 6, allowing prosecutors to charge individuals with murder if they make, sell, or deliver fentanyl to someone whose death is attributed to the drug. Although no such cases have been filed in Tarrant County thus far, the legislation enhances the authorities' capacity to hold offenders accountable.
Highlighting the gravity of the situation, Sorrells remarked, "We are tired of the death and destruction caused by illegal drugs. We will hold people accountable." The Tarrant County DA's office anticipates around 8,500 drug cases this year, reflecting the urgency and dedication with which they intend to address the impact of illegal drugs on the community.