Three arrested in downtown Nashville with fentanyl-laced drugs after undercover operation

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Three men are facing drug charges stemming from an undercover narcotics operation in downtown Nashville.

Officer from the Metro Nashville Police Department arrested 26-year-old Khalil D. Smith, 22-year-old Nesean Thompson and 26-year-old Michael E. Terry the night of May 21.

Terry met an undercover detective near the Hall of Fame and said he could get cocaine, according to police. Smith and Thompson arrived and Smith sold three grams of white powder to the detective for $200. Officers apprehended the three men after each attempted to flee the area.

The powder sold to the undercover detective tested positive for fentanyl, a synthetic opiate used to cut heroin, cocaine, OxyContin and marijuana. The drug can provide a more intense high but even very small amounts of fentanyl can be deadly. In 2020, fentanyl was responsible for four out of six overdose deaths in Tennessee.

Fentanyl has been detected in about 80% of Davidson County overdose deaths this year alone, according to the Metro Public Health Department.

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Detectives recovered 11 grams of white powder that tested positive for fentanyl, one bag of white rocks that tested positive for cocaine, 23 Xanax bars and 21 grams of marijuana from Smith, according to an MNPD news release.

Detectives recovered seven grams of white powder that tested positive for fentanyl from Thompson, who had six outstanding felony aggravated assault warrants related to an April 24 shooting, police said.

Thompson's bond is set at $377,500, police said. He is set to appear in court on June 10, records show.

Terry's bond is $15,000, according to MNPD. He faces a felony drug possession with intent charge and is set to appear in court on May 27, records show.

Smith faces federal charges

Police said Smith, who is barred from possessing a gun following a felony aggravated assault conviction in 2020, was carrying a pistol at the time of his arrest and also faces a felony gun charge. His bond is set a $100,000. He is set to appear in court on May 27, records show.

Smith also faces federal drug distribution charges, the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Middle District of Tennessee announced May 26. The charges include criminal complaint, with possession with intent to distribute fentanyl; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

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Smith was previously convicted of "multiple felonies" in Davidson County and Rutherford County, the attorney's office said in a news release. If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum of five years and up to life in federal prison.

The Metro Public Health Department issued an alert on May 21 warning the public that fentanyl in powder or pill form has been detected in downtown Nashville recently.

"Our team continues to see an increase in drug overdose-related incidents happening in the downtown Nashville area," the department stated in a tweet.

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The Metro Public Health Department encourages individuals and businesses to carry naloxone, an overdose reversal drug also known as Narcan. Access to information and training can be found at starsnashville.org, and additional resources are located at nashville.gov/departments/health/drug-overdose-information.

Individuals seeking treatment for drug addiction can contact the Community Overdose Response Team, a free and confidential resource (offered regardless of insurance status) that works with individuals at risk of drug or alcohol overdoses to determine plans for care. CORT can be reached at 615-687-1701.

Molly Davis contributed to this story.

Cassandra Stephenson covers Metro government for The Tennessean. Reach her at ckstephenson@tennessean.com or (731) 694-7261. Follow Cassandra on Twitter at @CStephenson731.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Three arrested in downtown Nashville with fentanyl-laced drugs