City police and federal narcotics agents said Tuesday they had secured charges against a Galveston man accused of selling fentanyl-laced cocaine and linked him to a pair of high-profile deaths occurring a few hours and miles apart on Christmas Day.
Patrick Miller, 23, is charged with two counts of manufacturing and delivering a controlled substance and held in the Galveston County Jail on $200,000 in bonds, Galveston Police Sgt. Derek Gaspard said at a news conference Tuesday that included agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
“This investigation is far from done,” Gaspard said. “With continued assistance from the DEA, and the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office, additional charges are expected.”
Miller is suspected of selling the drugs that caused the deaths of Vadim Birca, 31, and Dimitrije Gudovski, 34, on Christmas Day, law officers said.
“The Galveston Police Department and our federal partners at the DEA quickly combined resources and further linked Patrick Miller as the supplier of the narcotics that later tested positive for fentanyl,” Gaspard said.
During the news conference, law officers displayed a plastic bag marked with panda logos and issued a warning that drugs packaged that way likely are tainted with deadly fentanyl.
“This particular baggie has a picture of a panda, which is harmless,” Gaspard said. “But it’s a specific bag that the community needs to be aware of.
“If you see a bag that looks like this, there’s a good chance there may be fentanyl in it. If you see something like this, contact your local police department.”
Acquaintances told police Birca, a citizen of Moldova, and Gudovski, a citizen of Serbia, who were living in Galveston and working as waiters under a federal visa program, had before their deaths attended the same holiday party in the 8300 block of Seawall Boulevard, Gaspard said.
Their deaths contributed to what law enforcement officers, health officials, relatives of the dead and recovering opioid addicts warn is a spike in overdoses and drug-induced deaths.
Galveston Police Chief Doug Balli urged people inclined to try street drugs to consider how much faith they were putting in a drug dealer.
“You are putting your life in their hands,” Balli said.
During 2021 and the first 11 months 2022, there were 138 drug overdose related deaths in Galveston County, including the deaths of Birca and Gudovski, according to statistics from the Galveston County Medical Examiner’s office.
More than 56 percent of the deaths were linked to fentanyl, according to those statistics.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that’s cheap to make, easy to transport and exponentially more powerful and potentially more lethal than morphine and heroin, according to numerous sources.
Two milligrams of fentanyl is all it takes for a fatal overdose, Daniel Comeaux, special agent in charge of the investigation at the Drug Enforcement Agency Houston field division, said.
Most drugs laced with fentanyl are being smuggled into the U.S. by Mexican cartels, Comeaux said.
“What everyone needs to know is that drug cartels don’t care,” Comeaux said. “They’re all about the dollar bill. Right now, we have these counterfeit pills that look like Oxycontin or Xanax; people are taking something they think might be giving them a high for 30 minutes to an hour, but these pills can put you to sleep for the rest of your life.”
Balli also issued a warning to people dealing drugs in Galveston.
“The Galveston Police Department will pursue you,” Balli warned. “We will arrest you and you will be prosecuted.
“When you sleep at night, you should probably do so with one eye open, and wonder if GPD will come knocking on your door.”
As I had the pleasure of meeting Vadim at his work, he was a super nice guy that loved this country. He would have been an excellent US citizen!
GDN has his name spelled 2 different ways in the article, please show the respect due and correct the spelling. GPD and DEA thank you for catching this mass murderer, dealing death!
Thank you to all involved!
Wonderful job. Unfortunately the guy is very low on the totem pole but hopefully will send them in the right direction.
That's how LOSER Trump will fall
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