READING, Pa. - Berks County officials initiated a public health emergency Monday after a weekend that saw an unusually high number of overdoses, while Reading police arrested two men in connection with the investigation.
Hospital officials from both Reading Hospital and Penn State Health/St. Joseph’s Medical Center reported about 70 overdoses. Preliminary toxicology reports stated the main substances were heroin, fentanyl and xylazine.
In Reading, police reported 34 overdoses from early Friday morning through late Sunday afternoon, with one person hospitalized Saturday and dying Sunday from the suspected overdose.
Reading police officials noticed the dramatic trend early on, and alerted vice investigators, who immediately started an investigation into the cause of the high number of overdoses.
The investigation led officials to obtain a search warrant for a garage on the 200 block of North 8th Street late Sunday afternoon. As they executed the search warrant, they recovered:
- 200 bags of fentanyl/heroin
- 10.5 bags of suspected bulk cocaine
- 141 bags of packaged cocaine
- Drug packaging materials
Two men, 38-year-old Jayson Cuadrado and 28-year-old Dimitri Ortega, were taken into custody and charged with felony drug and related charges.
Anyone with further information which could help Berks County officials in the investigation should contact Reading Police, West Reading Police or the Berks County District Attorney’s Detectives. Additionally, tips can be called in at 1-877-373-9913 or texted to 84741 and beginning the text message conversation with ALERTBERKS.