Arrest made as fentanyl crackdown continues

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Fentanyl, other narcotics and a handgun were seized during the execution of a search warrant at a Lark Avenue residence on Aug. 27, according to Cranston Police.

Sunseyla Prom Mam, 28, of 39 Lark Ave., was arrested as a result of the search. He faces a litany of charges and was ordered held without bail at his arraignment Aug. 3 in Third Division District Court. His next appearance is scheduled to Sept. 10.

Cranston Maj. Todd Patalano said the investigation that resulted in the search and arrest is part of an ongoing effort focused on combating opioids in the community – and, in particular, fentanyl.

“We keep pushing on this fentanyl epidemic, and we’re going to continue with the assistance of the public,” he said. “We encourage the public to continue to provide narcotics-related information or report anything suspicious … This is all in an effort to curb the opioid epidemic and the increased overdose rate.”

In a statement, police said the search of Mam’s residence uncovered 78.2 grams of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, as well as 68.5 grams of MDMA – more commonly known as Ecstasy – and 188.6 grams of marijuana.

Authorities also found 35 pressed pills believed to contain additional amounts of fentanyl; two pill presses that appear to have been used in the manufacturing of those pills; a .40-caliber Walther handgun; 46 rounds of ammunition; and $380 in cash.

Police say Mam resisted officers during the execution of the search warrant and was subdued with a Taser.

Mam is charged with multiple counts of controlled substance manufacturing, possession and delivery, as well as using a firearm while committing a crime of violence, resisting arrest and maintaining a common nuisance/controlled substances.

Patalano said the Cranston department’s Special Investigations Unit plays a vital role in opioid-related investigations. As part of a relatively new initiative in recent years, he said patrol officers work “hand in hand” with investigators permanently assigned to the unit and provide “valuable information” based on their street experience.

Patalano said tips can be submitted anonymously through the department’s website, cranstonpoliceri.com, or by calling 942-2211.

The Rhode Island Department of Health last month announced an increase in the number of non-fatal opioid overdoses across the state. Between Aug. 12 and Aug. 18, the agency received 44 reports of suspected, non-fatal opioid overdoses in Rhode Island.

Health officials also advised that local law enforcement agencies have reported an increase in the circulation of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl.

“These counterfeit pills are sold illegally and look identical to opioid prescription pain medications (such as Percocet, OxyContin, and Vicodin), and may contain lethal amounts of illegally-made fentanyl,” a statement from the health department reads. “Twenty-one of the 44 people who overdosed received initial toxicology screenings. Of those 21 people, 19 were positive for fentanyl.

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