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By Steve Birr

Police discovered four children living in a home used for cutting up heroin with the often fatal painkiller fentanyl during a drug bust Wednesday in Detroit, Mich.

Authorities made the shocking discovery amid a broader investigation by the Michigan State Police Department of a drug ring. A HAZMAT team raided the home Wednesday morning, discovering buckets of unsealed powder thought to be fentanyl. The quantities of the powder found are enough to kill someone who comes into contact with it and the home, which officials condemned, may need to be destroyed due to the dangers even small amounts of fentanyl pose, reports FOX 2.

Neighbors are thanking police in the wake of the bust, expressing shock that the drug operation happened under their noses with children on the premises.

“I would have never known,” Marcia Chapelle, a neighbor, told FOX 2. “They were nice people.”

Police arrested a man living in the home and put the children in the custody of their mother, who says she had no knowledge of drug dealing taking place at the residence. The children are reported to be in good health despite living in the dangerous environment. The unidentified man had a small lab in the basement of the home, where he produced fentanyl to be sold on the streets.

“Fentanyl, heroin, it crosses all races, all socioeconomic classes,” Lt. Mike Shaw of the Michigan State Police told FOX 2. “It’s a huge problem. Just a little speck to breathe in is enough to kill somebody. This was a dangerous environment not only for the neighborhood, but especially those children.”

Heroin overdoses are surging in Michigan, and authorities fear the spike is likely due to the influx of fentanyl and carfentanil, a painkiller intended for tranquilizing large animals.

The presence of the deadly substances is causing a new problem for police conducting drug raids. In the chaos of a major drug bust, heroin powder can go airborne, poisoning officers exposed. Police are now cautioned to avoid field-testing due to the risk of exposure to carfentanil or fentanyl, which is roughly 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine.

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