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Alexandria Police lights (Staff photo by James Cullum)

A 32-year-old Alexandria man is being held without bond after allegedly selling narcotics from various hotel rooms in Northern Virginia.

The series of events leading to the suspect’s arrest begins on February 20, 2022.

On that date, Alexandria Police were called to an apartment in the 5700 block of Dow Avenue for a 35-year-old man who was not breathing. The man’s 13-year-old son made the call, and led police to the bedroom, where they were unable to resuscitate him, according to a search warrant affidavit.

Police also questioned a person who was asleep in the bedroom with the man, and in the adjoining bathroom found a small plastic bag with “white powder inside, a spoon with baked white powder residue and a lighter,” according to the search warrant affidavit. The person told police that they bought the schedule I/II narcotics from the suspect and brought the drugs back to the apartment.

APD then discovered that the suspect’s fiancé died of a drug-related overdose on March 23, 2021, in Arlington County.

“During the investigation, (the suspect) admitted to obtaining the narcotics from an individual in Prince George’s County and sharing them with his fiancé before her overdose,” police said in the search warrant affidavit.

Police conducted a sting operation in March in Fairfax County, and the suspect drove to the meet in a rental car and sold an unspecified amount of fentanyl to a police informant. The suspect’s rental car was found in the parking lot of a Motel Six in Dumphries on March 23, and then at a Days Inn on South Bragg Street in Alexandria on March 29.

On March 30, APD conducted a search of the suspect’s hotel room in Alexandria and found:

  • Multiple baggies of cocaine
  • Multiple baggies of suspected fentanyl
  • $529 in cash
  • A vise press with suspected narcotics
  • Multiple digital scales
  • Packaging and cutting materials
  • Suspected MDMA pills
  • Multiple cell phones

The suspect was arrested on March 30, charged with posession with intent to distribute schedule I/II narcotics (a felony) and then released on bond in May.

On June 14, the suspect met with his pretrial officer at the Alexandria jail, and was afterward seen getting into a vehicle with two other people and driving away. The suspect, who has a suspended driver’s license, was pulled over by police after parking for a long period in a nearby convenience store parking garage. Inside of the suspect’s vehicle, police found multiple baggies of a white powdery substance hidden in the roof lining, and then another plastic baggie with white powder in the  pocket of the back passenger seat, according to the search warrant affidavit.

In the backseat, the passenger told police that he’d met the suspect five days before, and that he had a drug problem and was trying to buy narcotics from the suspect, police said in the search warrant affidavit. Neither of the passengers were arrested, and the suspect said that the only items in the car that belonged to him were a bank card and his clothes, that he’d just left a pretrial meeting at the jail and was “going to sign up for treatment at a Fairfax substance abuse clinic shortly,” police said in the search warrant affidavit.

“When advised that members of the Vice/Narcotics Unit had observed him use narcotics inside a parking garage and found discarded drug paraphernalia and his pretrial officer’s business card near the parking spot the vehicle had occupied, (the suspect) advised he didn’t realiz we had been watching him for such a long period of time,” police said in the search warrant affidavit.

The suspect has been held without bond since the June 14 incident, although that case was dismissed for want of admissible evidence.

On July 13, the suspect’s March 30 arrest was certified to the grand jury as a felony possession with intent to distribute charge. He faces indictment in August, and between five and 40 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

In May, Alexandria warned of a spike in fentanyl-related opioid overdoses. There were 30 opioid overdoses in the first five months of 2022, with two confirmed fentanyl overdoses.

According to the City:

For life-threatening situations, call 9-1-1 immediately. If you have information regarding the illegal sale of opioids or other drugs, please call the Alexandria Police Department at 703.746.6277.

If you or someone you care about needs help, please call 703.746.3400 to speak with staff at the Department of Community and Human Services. Treatment for opioid use can be accessed by calling the City’s Opioid Treatment Program intake line at 703.746.3610 and detox services can be accessed by calling 703.746.3636. Additional treatment options can be found at samhsa.gov or by calling 800.662.HELP (4357).

The City also encourages residents to dispose of expired or unneeded medications.  Several medication disposal boxes are located throughout the City.

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Updated at 5:30 p.m. On April 19, at 6:30 p.m., a social worker at Inova Fairfax Hospital contacted the Child Protective Services hotline.

The social worker reported that a three-year-old girl was overdosing and was brought to the hospital emergency room by her mother in a Lyft transport, according to a police search warrant affidavit.

“By the time (the child and her mother) arrived at the hospital, the child was in full cardiac arrest,” police said in a search warrant affidavit. “The child was treated with Narcan and immediately reacted.”

Narcan is a prescription medicine that can reverse an opioid overdose through injection or intranasal mist.

Police later found the mother and daughter in the hospital’s pediatric unit. The mother told police that she is homeless was staying at a friend’s house. She told police that her child picked up a cup and put it to her lips, and that soon after she became increasingly lethargic, according to a search warrant affidavit.

The woman also reportedly told the social worker that she did not know what was inside the cup. When police asked the mother where she was when the incident occurred, she said that she didn’t know the address. She also said that her friend’s name is Tiffany.

The child was removed from her mother during the investigation and placed in the custody of one of the father’s cousins, according to the search warrant affidavit.

Over the next several days, the social worker spoke with the child’s father, who told her that his ex (the mother of the child) confided that she “made up Tiffany’s name and that she was at another friend’s house,” according to the search warrant affidavit.

“[The mother] is purposely not telling us where she was when the incident occurred,” police said in the search warrant affidavit.

The cousin told police that the child reported she and her mother were, in fact, at another cousin’s house when the incident occurred, that the mother of the child has always struggled with drugs, and that “her preference is Percocet laced with Fentanyl,” police said in the search warrant affidavit.

“[The cousin] stated that even though [the mother] knew what was going on with [the child], she didn’t tell the medical staff when she arrived at the hospital. She knew that [her child] had drugs in her system and stayed quiet,” police said in the search warrant affidavit.

No arrests have been made in connection to this incident, and APD could not be reached for comment.

Anyone who suspects that a child is being abused or neglected should call the city’s CPS hotline at 703-746-5800, or the Virginia hotline at 1-800-552-7096. If a child is in immediate danger, call 911 for police assistance.

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Recently confiscated small, round, pale blue counterfeit pill with tin used for inhalation, image courtesy Alexandria Police Department

The Alexandria Police Department and city officials are warning locals about an uptick in overdoses linked to pills laced with fentanyl.

“City of Alexandria officials warn the community about a recent spike in suspected fentanyl-related overdoses, especially in school-aged youth who report using a ‘little blue pill’ they believed was Percocet,” the city said in a release. “Illicit drugs are often laced with fentanyl, an inexpensive substitute that is up to 100 times more potent than morphine and can be deadly.”

Police said two juveniles died of an overdose in a neighboring jurisdiction from the same type of pill.

“Most juvenile cases reported involved either smoking or ingesting a ‘blue pill’ that is being sold as a Percocet pill,” said Captain Monica Lisle, commander of the Criminal Investigations Division at the Alexandria Police Department, in the release. “There were two reported overdose deaths of juveniles last week in a neighboring jurisdiction involving this same type of pill, so we are doing all we can to warn youth and other community members of the resources available to combat this epidemic. We are asking for the public’s help in understanding the prevalence of opioid overdoses, how they can be prevented, and to speak with youth regarding the dangers of all illicit drugs, particularly these ‘little blue pills’.”

The Alexandria School Board is set to decide Thursday (May 5) on carrying Nalaxone, or Narcan, as an emergency medication to be given to students in the event of an opiate overdose.

The warning comes after four were arrested in Prince William County with fentanyl-laced Percocet pills and as Alexandria City Public Schools is considering adding overdose treatment drug Narcan to schools.

“Between April 1 and May 1, twelve opioid overdoses were reported in the City of Alexandria, six of which occurred in persons under the age of 17,” the city said. “None of these overdoses resulted in a fatality and many of the victims were revived by first responders equipped with Narcan, an opioid overdose reversal medication. Since the start of 2022, 30 opioid overdoses have been reported in Alexandria. Of these, two people died in January of confirmed fentanyl overdoses.”

Police said the counterfeit pills carry an imprint of a capital M to mimic an authentic M30 tablet.

According to the release:

The City has resources available to help combat the opioid epidemic, including Narcan, a safe, easy-to-administer nasal spray that is available in Virginia without a prescription. Narcan can be obtained at no charge from the Alexandria Opioid Work Group’s Mail Out program by emailing [email protected] and at the Alexandria Health Department (4480 King St.). Narcan is also available at most pharmacies throughout Alexandria.

For life-threatening situations, call 9-1-1 immediately. If you have information regarding the illegal sale of opioids or other drugs, please call the Alexandria Police Department at 703.746.6277.

If you or someone you care about needs help, please call 703.746.3400 to speak with staff at the Department of Community and Human Services. Treatment for opioid use can be accessed by calling the City’s Opioid Treatment Program intake line at 703.746.3610 and detox services can be accessed by calling 703.746.3636. Additional treatment options can be found at samhsa.gov or by calling 800.662.HELP (4357).

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Police car lights (file photo)

On the 5500 block of Seminary Road yesterday morning (Tuesday), right along the line between Alexandria and Fairfax, the discovery of a woman unconscious on the sidewalk led to the rescue of six adults unconscious after overdosing on what is suspected to be fentanyl-laced cocaine.

Police said officers responded at 3 a.m. to an apartment on Seminary Road, which a Fairfax County Police Department spokesperson said occurred just inside the Fairfax border.

“When officers arrived, they discovered one woman unconscious on the sidewalk and immediately rendered aid,” the Fairfax Police Department said. “As additional officers arrived, four men and a woman were found unconscious inside the apartment. Officers and Fire and Rescue personnel administered Narcan to all six individuals. All six adults, ranging from 23 to 35 years of age, were taken to local hospitals for further treatment and four remain hospitalized.”

Police said the victims were ingested an unknown narcotic in the apartment, with detectives discovering a white, powdery substance at the scene. The narcotics will be sent to the Virginia Department of Forensic Science for further analysis, police said. An email from the City of Alexandria after the overdoses said the substance was believed to be fentanyl-laced cocaine.

“Please take steps to protect yourself and others who may be in possession of cocaine purchased in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area,” the city said. “The nasal spray Narcan (also known as Naloxone) can save the life of someone who is overdosing from substances containing opioids, if given in time, and test strips can detect dangerous fentanyl-laced drugs before they are used. Obtain free Narcan and fentanyl test strips by emailing your name and address to [email protected] to have one or both mailed to you. Anyone who assists a person in need by administering Narcan is protected by the Good Samaritan Law from liability while rendering aid.”

The Fairfax County Police Department noted that symptoms of an overdose include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Snore-like gurgling sounds
  • Breathing is low, shallow or erratic
  • Bluish purple, or ashen skin color
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fingernails turn blue or close to black

Last year in Alexandria there were an estimated 12 fatal overdoses and 92 non-fatal overdoses.

“If you or someone you know needs help to overcome drug dependence, please call the Community Services Board at Merrifield Center at 703-573-5679 to help find appropriate treatment and recovery services,” the Fairfax Police Department said. “Walk-ins are also welcome Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.”

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It was a surprising week in Alexandria.

Our top story by far was on the venomous rattlesnake found in Old Town on Sunday. The timber snake, which also goes by the name American Viper, was discovered in the 400 block of Gibbon Street — a few blocks from the waterfront. It didn’t bite anyone, and was apprehended by the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria’s Animal Services team and later moved to a wildlife facility in Northern Virginia.

This Saturday, June 19,  is also Juneteenth, and the new federal holiday recognizes the end of slavery in the U.S. The City recognized Juneteenth on Friday, and most government offices and facilities were closed. This weekend, the Alexandria Black History Museum is partnering with Washington Revels Jubilee Voices — a group that preserves local Black traditions through a cappella music, dramatic performances and dance — for a virtual Juneteenth Celebration.

Meanwhile, in-person dramatic and musical performances are being planned for July. The Little Theatre of Alexandria is expanding capacity with their new lineup of shows, and the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra will resume in-person performing in a reduced program at the City’s birthday celebration on the waterfront on July 10.

In other good news, a pair of T.C. Williams High School Titans raised more than $4,800 to attend the Outdoor Nationals at the University of Oregon on July 1.

In this week’s poll, we asked readers how they think the millions of first allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funds should be spent, as City Council will conduct a public hearing on how to spend it on Saturday. After a rash of flooding incidents last year, a majority of the respondents want the funds prioritized for waterway maintenance.

This Sunday is also Father’s Day, and a number of Alexandria businesses are offering unique specials.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. JUST IN: Rarity as American Viper Rattlesnake found in Old Town
  2. Captain Sean Casey wins Democratic primary and is running unopposed for Sheriff in November
  3. Woman assaulted by mob and pepper-sprayed in Old Town North
  4. Man dies of apparent overdose at coworking office in Old Town
  5. T.C. Williams High School’s final graduating class walks the stage
  6. Alexandria Fire Department rescues woman from stalled car, Flash Flood Watch in effect
  7. City launches Duke Street transit overhaul process
  8. For Taco Bamba owner, newly announced Landmark location is a homecoming
  9. Shortened Alexandria Birthday celebration is still on for July 10
  10. Here’s what to do when you find dead birds amid recent epidemic
  11. Java Grill closed until further notice in Old Town

Have a safe weekend! 

Courtesy AWLA/Twitter 

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Morning Notes

City responds to recent overdose increase — “The number of opioid overdoses rose about 36% in Alexandria during 2020, reflecting statewide and national spikes in both fatal and non-fatal drug overdoses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. According to data collected by the Alexandria Police Department and the Alexandria Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services, there were 105 total opioid overdoses, both fatal and non-fatal, in 2020. In 2019, there were 73 total opioid overdoses in the city.” [Alex Times]

Bicyclist struck and killed by vehicle in Alexandria area of Fairfax County — “The incident happened around 11:45 a.m. at Telegraph Road and Franconia Road in the Alexandria area. Police say the driver remained at the scene.” [FOX 5 DC]

First Thursday rescheduled to June 10 in Del Ray — “The Del Ray Business Association presents First Thursday: Unmask Your Superhero on Thursday, June 10 from 6 p.m. to dusk along Mount Vernon Avenue. The event features a wide range of activities that promote community while supporting the Dunbar Alexandria-Olympic Boys & Girls Club.” [Zebra]

Today’s weather — “Scattered showers and thunderstorms (during the day). Storms may contain strong gusty winds. High 82F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%… A mostly clear sky (in the evening). Low 64F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New job: Seasonal marina dock assistant ($18.99 hourly) — “The Seasonal Marina Dock Assistant works on the City’s Historic Waterfront at the City Marina. The City Marina provides for recreational and commercial boating operations while receiving more than 2,000,000 visitors annually. The Marina Dock Assistant performs journey-level tasks of more than ordinary difficulty and must be able to perform heavy physical labor safely and efficiently.” [Indeed]

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The City of Alexandria is urging locals to become acquainted with overdose treatment as cases rise both statewide and locally.

“The Virginia Department of Health’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner reports that 2020 may be the worst year on record for fatal overdoses in Virginia,” the city said in a press release. “Preliminary figures from the second quarter of 2020 indicate a 66.8% increase in fatal drug overdoses in Virginia from the same period in 2019, suggesting a possible correlation with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The city release liked the increase to collective stress from the COVID-19 pandemic. The city urged residents engaging in substance abuse to seek treatment and recovery programs offered by the city.

“The City and the Alexandria Community Services Board offer an opioid treatment program, the Alexandria Residential Treatment Center, mental health and substance abuse residential services, outpatient treatment for substance use disorders and a Narcan-by-mail delivery program,” the city said.

The total number of fatal overdoses has increased in Virginia from 1,626 in 2019 to 2,053 just in the first half of 2020.

“Of those, 1,701 were related to opioid related overdoses,” the city said, “with 474 related to prescription opioids and 1,498 related to fentanyl, heroin, or both.”

There were 69 opioid overdoses in Alexandria in 2018, of which eight were fatal. In 2019, there were 73 opioid overdoses, of which 14 were fatal. As of November 30, 2020, there have been 85 opioid overdoses, of which 13 were fatal.

The city said residents can get access to Narcan, which can help someone experiencing an overdose, for free by mail.

“The drug Naloxone, also known as Narcan, can save the life of someone who is experiencing an opioid overdose, if given in time,” the city said. “Any Alexandria resident can obtain Narcan by mail for free by emailing their name and address to [email protected] or pick up a dose of the easy-to-use nasal spray by calling the Alexandria Health Department at 703.746.4888 or the City’s Opioid Response Coordinator at 703.746.3326. Narcan is also available at pharmacies without a prescription.”

Staff photo by Airey

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Morning Notes

Land Rover Alexandria Is Moving — A developer “has filed plans with Fairfax County to build [an] auto dealership and service center, on a 5.6-acre parcel fronting Van Dorn Street between the Capital Beltway and McGuin Drive, just outside the city of Alexandria… Beyer Auto Group will uproot its Land Rover dealership from its 22-year home at 2712 Duke St. in Alexandria to this new location, while establishing Jaguar sales on the property as well.” [Washington Business Journal]

Water Main Break Near Hospital — An extended, partial road closure was reported near Inova Alexandria Hospital yesterday (Tuesday) evening after a water main broke at the intersection of N. Jordan and Howard streets. [Twitter]

Women’s Halfway House Opens at New Location — “Friends of Guest House, the transitional organization for formerly incarcerated women, has some new digs. Twenty women moved into Friends of Guest House’s newly opened residential six month re-entry program at 120 S. Payne Street.” [Zebra]

New Insight into Severance Case — “Years after serial killer Charles Severance terrorized Alexandria, Virginia, and was convicted in three murders, the lead prosecutor is sharing key insights into the case… ‘He wanted it to be terrifying,’ [Commonwealth’s Attorney for Alexandria Bryan] Porter said of Severance’s crimes.” [WTOP]

APD Officer Saves Man from Overdose — “An Alexandria police officer saved the life of a man who had overdosed on opioids. Read his story, and learn how you too can save a life.” [City of Alexandria, Twitter]

Tonight: Beautification Awards Ceremony — “The 2019 Alexandria Beautification Awards ceremony will recognize residents, organizations, and businesses and community groups for their efforts in contributing to the beautification of the City of Alexandria. Awards will be presented in six categories.” [City of Alexandria]

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