Alleged dealer’s ex goes back for safe and gets caught

Police detectives are often advised to follow the money. In this case, they had to follow the dealer’s ex to find another stockpile of fentanyl.

Arthur T. Lundy, III, aka Arthur Armstrong, 38, was charged with three counts of dealing a narcotic drug and felony possession of fentanyl and methamphetamine after he sold fentanyl three times to a confidential informant.

Arthur T. Lundy

The drug buys led to the Fort Wayne Police Department’s narcotics division and SWAT team conducting a search on Lundy’s Bayer Avenue home Nov. 16. Inside, police found Lundy, Denine Raspberry, 33, his ex and the mother of his child, and the small child, court documents said.

Denine Raspberry

Raspberry explained that she didn’t really live at the home, but would sometimes the night there as she and Lundy co-parented their son. Raspberry proved correct when she said she had no clothes at this residence.

Police let her go, but took Lundy into custody. Lundy had sold the informant nearly 58 grams of fentanyl and on Nov. 16, they found more – 1.8 grams in a baggie and about 15 grams of meth. The meth included 1.1 grams of white powder and 96 multi-colored pills with a total weight of 14.3 grams, court documents said.

Then there were the accoutrements: four scales of various sizes with white powdery residue on them, boxes of clear plastic baggies, weights to calibrate scales, scoops and cutting agents, a hydraulic kilo brick press and boxes of latex gloves.

But the FWPD didn’t get it all the first time around, until Raspberry led them by the nose back to the source and another 62.3 grams of fentanyl. Raspberry first went to the Above Average Barber Shop located in the 300 block of East Pettit Street, according to internet sources. The probable cause says she was “asking about keys and wanted access to the barber shop.”

But then, Raspberry returned to the home on Bayer Avenue that had just been raided. Two detectives arrived at the home that’d been cleared to see Raspberry’s car there. She’d been driving the car with a suspended license, court documents said.

The two detectives saw Raspberry leave with an item that turned out to be a safe. Police conducted a traffic stop. In the safe they found the 62.3 grams of fentanyl, 3 grams of multi-colored pills that tested positive for methamphetamine and marijuana. In the center console was a partially burnt, hand-rolled marijuana-filled cigar and the car smelled like marijuana. Inside the car was more than $4,400 in cash.

Detectives estimated the street value of the second haul of fentanyl at $3,500, court documents said.

Lundy was being held at the Allen County Jail in lieu of $170,000 bail and no bond regarding a misdemeanor charge, according to a jail spokesman. Raspberry, charged with one count of dealing a narcotic drug and misdemeanor marijuana possession, was released on her own recognizance Nov. 17 and has an initial hearing Monday.

To put the seized amount of fentanyl into perspective, it only takes 2 milligrams of the drug to kill a human being. “One pill can kill,” has become the battle cry of those fighting the fentanyl epidemic and the numbers here who can attest to losing a loved one to one pill is growing.

Theresa Juillerat, whose son, Christopher, died May 12, 2020 after consuming a pill he thought was Percocet, was so angered and grieved by her loss that she formed the local chapter of APALD – Association of People Against Lethal Drugs – two years ago.

“I meet with parents all the time. The fight for me comes in the form of walking alongside these other mothers, walking the same journey as I am. But (I’m) also uniting with parents from other states. This problem is bigger than us and we need our administration to address that fentanyl is a weapon of mass destruction.”

Juillerat sees a new, greater danger out there: gray death fentanyl.

“What they’re saying about that, Narcan has absolutely no reverse effects on it,” Juillerat said.

As of early September, Fort Wayne had 74 fatal overdose deaths with 59 pending toxicology. Last year, the death toll was 173, the highest since 2016 when the drug first appeared.

Local experts like FWPD’s Capt. Kevin Hunter, who oversees the Hope and Recovery Team with the narcotics division, say that fentanyl pops up in many other drugs, including marijuana. The contamination comes from local dealers cutting their drugs and not keeping their makeshift labs clean.

Nationwide, Indiana ranked seventh in overdose deaths from 2013 through 2020, according to Nicerx.com.