COLUMBUS (WCMH) — An undercover narcotics sting in Franklin County has netted more than four kilograms of suspected fentanyl with a street value of $800,000.

The sting was a joint operation between the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Unit and the Hilliard Division of Police.

Sheriff Dallas Baldwin said the drugs entered the United States at the southwestern border and were intended to be distributed in Columbus.

“This was a high-risk operation,” Sheriff Baldwin said. “It’s nearly impossible to measure prevention, but I am confident the actions of SIU investigators and Hilliard officers saved lives.”

Three people were arrested in connection with the seizure:

  • Alvaro de Jesus Hernandez
  • Magally Ruelas-Gonzales
  • Arturo Benavides

Each was charged with one felony count of aggravated trafficking in drugs.

Officials say the undercover operation began in May and ended Thursday with the arrests of Hernandez and Ruelas-Gonzales who allegedly agreed to meet with an undercover detective to sell the drugs.

Benavides was arrested after a sheriff’s K9 detected fentanyl during a traffic stop.

Following the arrests, investigators obtained warrants to search three Franklin County residences. Authorities say they confiscated a weapon and an additional 700 grams of suspected fentanyl worth about $140,000 at a residence on Chippewa Falls St. in Dublin.

Additional felony charges are pending, according to FCSO.