An Elyria man was indicted in federal court last week for trafficking fentanyl, heroin and cocaine — the first such indictment under an aggressive new federal initiative targeting suspects in Lorain County involved with synthetic opioids.
Kenneth Ward, 44, was indicted on one count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, possession with intent to distribute cocaine and multiple counts of distribution of heroin, fentanyl and cocaine, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Northern District of Ohio.
The nine-count indictment details multiple sales of drugs by Ward in March and April. The case was investigated by the FBI and Elyria police.
The indictment came less than two weeks after the Department of Justice announced Lorain County was one of 10 counties in the nation that are part of Operation S.O.S., which stands for Synthetic Opioid Surge and seeks to reduce the supply of deadly synthetic opioids in the high-impact areas and identify wholesale distribution networks and domestic suppliers.
In the announcement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said when it comes to opioids, “there’s no such thing as a small case.” Sessions said that just 3 milligrams of fentanyl can be fatal, which isn’t “even enough to cover up Lincoln’s face on a penny.”
On April 28, Ward allegedly possessed 4 grams of mixture containing fentanyl, according to the federal indictment. He allegedly had nearly 22 grams of crack cocaine on him at the time, as well.
With Operation S.O.S., , the U.S. Attorney’s Office selected a specific county in each participating district and will prosecute every “readily provable case involving the distribution of fentanyl, fentanyl analogues and other synthetic opioids, regardless of drug quantity.”
Lorain County was selected in the Northern District of Ohio due to having 132 overdose deaths in each of the last two years.
Ward has been indicted on drug trafficking charges several times over the years, according to Lorain County Common Pleas Court records. He is being held in Lorain County Jail on $225,000 bond, according to the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office.