Zelienople woman charged with selling lethal brand of heroin

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Police have charged a Zelienople woman with selling heroin under the brand name “Theraflu,” which has been implicated in numerous suspected fatal overdoses this month in Western Pennsylvania.

April L. Opperman, 41, of West Beaver Street, was arrested Tuesday by Zelienople police, agents from the state attorney general’s office and members of the Butler County Drug Task Force, following a search of her residence.

In Ms. Opperman’s third-floor bedroom police found 18 stamp bags of heroin marked “Theraflu” inside a brown vitamin bottle, police said.

Ms. Opperman is charged with two drug offenses.

On Friday Zelienople police responded to a drug overdose of a female juvenile at Ms. Opperman’s house. The officer found drug paraphernalia and 20 stamp bags marked “Theraflu,” according to a police affidavit.

The next day another officer responded to a drug overdose. That evening, the patient spoke to police from UPMC Cranberry and told the officer that the heroin was bought from Opperman, the affidavit said.

Authorities are working to track down the supplier of fentanyl-laced heroin that has flooded the region over the past two weeks. Up to 22 addicts have died and there have been an unknown number of non-fatal overdoses from the tainted product, a combination of heroin and a potent illicitly produced painkiller.

In Homestead, police today obtained two arrest warrants for two suspects after a search warrant executed Sunday led them to about 1,500 stamp bags of "Bud Ice" heroin, cutting agents and packaging materials at a home on 20th Avenue, according to Homestead police Chief Jeffrey DeSimone.

Also today the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed a suspected heroin overdose death from Monday of a 46-year-old woman in Pittsburgh’s Knoxville section. The woman was apparently using a brand of heroin called “Magic City.”

Investigators are awaiting test results to show whether that brand of heroin contains fentanyl.

Pittsburgh police narcotics Cmdr. Linda Rosato-Barone had no additional information this afternoon about the overall investigation.


Jonathan D. Silver: jsilver@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1962 or on Twitter @jsilverpg.

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