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New details emerge on 'big time' drug trafficker caught in Iredell County

Sheriff Darren Campbell says he's seeing a surge in fentanyl busts and overdoses in the area and nationwide.

IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. — The Iredell County Sheriff has released new details on the arrest of a "big time player" in drug trafficking to WCNC Charlotte.

Muhammad Abdur-Rahim was arrested on Monday, Aug. 29, after deputies said he assaulted them and resisted arrest.

Deputies said they eventually apprehended Abdur-Rahim after a police chase and found a concealed handgun, vacuum-packed bags of marijuana, and a 1.4 pound brick of fentanyl.

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"He's gonna be tied up in several other cases up and down the East Coast,” Iredell County Sheriff Darren Campbell told WCNC Charlotte's Julia Kauffman

He added that he's had run ins with Abdur-Rahim in the county before.

Campbell said the brick of fentanyl was headed for the North and South Carolina border. It’s part of a the nationwide problem he said has spiked in the past year.

"I've been doing this over 25 years and this is one of the biggest surges -- so fast -- we've seen” Campbell added.

According to DEA reports that Campbell cited, most illegal fentanyl comes from China and is smuggled in through the Mexican border.

According to NCDHHS, it's likely more than 2,300 North Carolinians died from a fentanyl overdose in 2020.

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Michael Peterson with Wellpath, a new office-based addiction treatment center in Charlotte, said many of their patients aren't aware fentanyl is in their systems. He explained that oftentimes they do a different drug like methamphetamine and fentanyl is unknowingly in it as well.

Peterson said they also treat patients that are active fentanyl users and are aware fentanyl is in their systems.

Part of fighting the growing fentanyl problem, according to Peterson, is removing barriers to treatment like waitlists and costly services.

Peterson said Wellpath offers treatment on a sliding scale, meaning it can be free for certain income levels. The center also sees walk-in patients the same day.

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"We'd rather prevent an overdose than ever investigate an overdose,” Sheriff Campbell said.

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Sheriff Campbell said a big tool in fighting fentanyl is educating the public, especially the youth. He added that his deputies go to local schools to educate children on the dangers of drugs.

To crack down on drug traffickers, he recently hired an investigator dedicated to the issue.

According to the sheriff’s office, Abdur-Rahim has been charged with a slew of felonies including assault with a deadly weapon on a government official and trafficking of a scheduled two substance. He is out on bond.

Contact Julia Kauffman at jkauffman@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram  

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