When an undercover Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office detective bought what he thought was 0.4 grams of heroin from a 26-year-old Palmetto man late last year, officers field tested it for heroin.
The detective then tested it for fentanyl.
According to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, Latarious Harvey would sell undercover detectives what they thought was heroin three more times.
Three months later, a forensic chemist’s report of the purchased drugs found one thing in common: The presence of carfentanil.
Beginning in October, a tip came into the sheriff’s office about a man nicknamed “Black” who sold heroin in Nokomis. Detectives bought 0.4 grams of what they thought was heroin for $60 on Oct. 21. A week later at a Nokomis Sunoco gas station, 0.3 grams was purchased for $60. On Halloween, a detective purchased 0.4 grams for $80, then three days later the detective paid $100 for 0.4 grams of suspected heroin.
During field tests of all of the purchases, two tested positive for fentanyl, one tested positive for heroin and one was negative for both.
Carfentanil is used as a large-animal tranquilizer and is 10,000 times more powerful than morphine. A small amount can be deadly, as it was seen in at least 35 Manatee County overdose deaths in 2016.
Harvey faces four counts of sale of carfentanil within 1,000 feet of a church and was being held at the Sarasota County jail on a $100,000 bond.