Identical triplet brothers have been arrested and charged in connection with operating a drug ring that is believed to have supplied altered Xanax bars containing the the highly deadly opioid, fentanyl, to area teenagers in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The 21-year-old Dossou brothers, named Atsou, Atsouste and Etse, were each arrested on May 31, and charged with vary degrees of offenses related to their alleged possession, manufacture, intent to sell, actual sale and trafficking of schedule IV drugs.
The arrests came after police used a confidential informant to contact Atsouste and arrange for the successful delivery of 1,000 manipulated Xanax bars, authorities said.
'I didn't expect that out of him,' Victor Vinson, a long-time neighbor who knew Atsouste from around their luxury apartment building, told CBS. 'He was a real good person.'
He added: 'You never know who your neighbor is. We expect our neighbor to be a positive person, but you never know.'
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In August 2017, Raleigh policed learned through Garner Police that an informant had claimed the brothers would order as many as 10,000 fentanyl pills and 100,000 Xanax pills from the dark web at a time, warrants said.
The brother would have the drugs shipped to multiple locations 'associated with Este Dossou and his criminal enterprise,' and would then press their own bars. This would allow them to cut the Xanax bars with the much cheaper, and highly deadly, fentanyl, which is '50 to 100 times more potent' than morphine, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
'Fentanyl is a class of drugs which includes fentanyl itself and then other fentanyl analogues and so far in the US we've seen between somewhere between 15 and 30 different analogues show up in the illicit drug supply,' Dr. Christopher Jones of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) said.
'I think it's really this emergence of such a variety of synthetic opioids that is also leading to the rise in overdose deaths because the drug supply is unpredictable and individuals who are using drugs don't particularly know exactly what they are using.'
Drug overdose deaths have now become the leading cause of accidental deaths in the US with 52,404 fatalities in 2015, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
It's believed that Atsouste, Etse and Atsou were 'major suppliers'of Xanax to Holly Springs High School students, the warrants said.
The arrests came after a police informant contacted Atsouste through a Facebook message in March, and arranged a successful delivery of 1,000 counterfeit Xanax bars, which the police took into evidence, according to warrants.
Police identified Atsouste, who was driving a red Porsche Cayenne, as the person who