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By Breyana Segura
Pearsall police are warning the public to be cautious of illegal narcotics that may be laced with a powerful opioid after a local man died last week.
Police responded to a call at the intersection of Oak and Medina Streets early Wednesday morning to find 58-year-old Jose Banda deceased.
Later that day the department released a statement via social media noting the man’s death was related to consumption of an illegal narcotic that investigators believe was laced with fentanyl.
The prescription opioid drug is used to treat severe pain and is listed as being at high risk of addiction and dependence. Fentanyl is reported as causing respiratory distress and death when taken in high doses or when combined with other substances, including alcohol, heroin or cocaine.
The police department has indicated its officers are examining the possibility that narcotics presently available in Pearsall have been laced with fentanyl without consumers’ knowledge.
“We have reason to believe that a fatal overdose caused by an illegal substance occurred and are urging anyone consuming, selling or possessing to dispose of the narcotics immediately, specifically cocaine,” the statement read.
According to a report on the case, officers found Banda inside his home surrounded by drug paraphenalia and cocaine on a table where he was sitting.
Emergency medical personnel confirmed Banda had been deceased for some time before he was found.
The man’s alleged overdose comes three months after five people overdosed on cocaine laced with fentanyl in Frio County. Four of those individuals died from their drug consumption.
Fentanyl is considered fifty to a hundred times stronger than heroin and has contributed to an increase in opioid overdose deaths in recent years.
“We are taking this very seriously and are investigating this matter to locate the local source of these narcotics as well as who is distributing them throughout the community,” the police department statement read.
Pearsall police have confirmed they are awaiting results from the medical examiner and Texas Department of Safety crime lab results.
The department is urging anyone with information regarding the drug sales to call (830) 334-4169.