Carbeque on I-395 — A car was engulfed in flames on I-395 near Shirlington Circle last night. Southbound and HOV lanes were blocked as firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze. Most lanes reopened by 8:30 p.m. [Twitter, Twitter]
YHS Runner Advances to National Meet — “Yorktown High School’s Owen McArdle has qualified to run in a national-championship race. By virtue of finishing fifth in 15:05.49 at the Eastbay South Regional boys championship high-school cross country meet, the senior earned a spot in Eastbay’s boys national meet Dec. 11 in San Diego. The top 10 finishers in region meets earn a berth to race in the nationals. The winning time at the South Region meet was 15:00.31.” [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Records More Opioid Deaths — ” In an already deadly year for overdoses, Arlington County recorded at least two more opioid-related fatalities since the Thanksgiving holiday. Out of the 149 overdoses in the county (as of Nov. 26), 26 of them were deadly, according to the Arlington County opioid incident data. The 2021 numbers have surpassed the total for 2020.” [WUSA 9]
D.C. Area Home Prices Keep Rising — “The median price of single-family homes in the Washington region posted a double-digit year-over-year increase in the third quarter, but its bump up was below that of the nation as a whole. With a median sales price of $548,600 across the D.C. metro region, the area’s single-family home price rose 11.5 percent from the same July-August-September period in 2020, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors.” [Sun Gazette]
It’s December — The first day of December (today) will be warmer than the last days of November. The kickoff of meteorological winter will be mostly sunny, with a high near 52. Sunrise at 7:08 a.m. and sunset at 4:46 p.m. There is a chance of rain between 8 p.m. tonight and 8 a.m. Thursday. Otherwise, Thursday will be partly sunny, with a high near 61, and a southwest wind 6 to 11 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph. [Weather.gov]
The Alexandria man whose drugs led to a local woman’s death is expected to spend at least a decade in prison.
Prosecutors announced this morning that 29-year-old Kibruysday Degefa, accused of distributing the fentanyl-laced drugs that caused the overdose death of a 20-year-old woman in Arlington, was convicted on an array of charges by a jury in Alexandria federal court.
Arlington County Police Chief Andy Penn helped to make the announcement. Degefa is set to be sentenced in February and is facing a 10 year mandatory minimum sentence.
A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia is below.
A federal jury convicted an Alexandria man yesterday on charges of conspiracy, possession, and distribution of fentanyl and Eutylone, and being a felon in possession of a firearm during drug trafficking.
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, from in or around June 2020, through at least December 2020, Kibruysday Degefa, 29, conspired with others to distribute counterfeit, pressed pills containing fentanyl, as well as Eutylone, which is a designer drug similar in character to MDMA. Pills distributed by the conspiracy twice on December 20, 2020, contributed to the mixed drug overdose death of a 20-year-old female in Arlington, whose blood was later determined to contain fentanyl. A search warrant on the hotel room where Degefa was staying at the time revealed additional narcotics for distribution, including Eutylone, along with multiple firearms concealed in the bathroom ceiling tiles. Degefa was previously convicted of robbery in Alexandria in 2015.
Degefa faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison when sentenced on February 18, 2022. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Andy Penn, Arlington County Chief of Police; Jarod Forget, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Division; Colonel Gary T. Settle, Superintendent of Virginia State Police; and Charlie J. Patterson, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF’s Washington Field Division, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady accepted the verdict.
Blue and Orange Line Changes Today — “There will be no rail service between Rosslyn and Pentagon stations due to the ongoing investigation into Tuesday’s derailment between Rosslyn and Arlington Cemetery stations. Free shuttle buses will replace trains between Rosslyn, Arlington Cemetery, and Pentagon stations. Blue Line service will operate between Franconia-Springfield and Mt. Vernon Square stations only… Orange Line service will operate between Vienna and New Carrollton stations and Silver Line service will operate between Wiehle-Reston East and Largo Town Center stations, with single tracking between Clarendon and Foggy Bottom.” [WMATA]
Suspicious Object in Pentagon Parking Lot — From the Pentagon Force Protection Agency yesterday afternoon: “At approximately 6:30 a.m., a Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA) Police unit on routine patrol in South parking when they observed a suspicious object. The area was immediately cordoned off, and vehicle and pedestrian traffic was blocked from the area. PFPA Hazardous Device Unit responded and the object was rendered safely at about 6:50 a.m. The all clear was given at 7:35 a.m… There is no threat to the Pentagon and surrounding area. The incident is under further investigation.” [Twitter, Twitter]
Arlingtonian Swims Around Manhattan — “What’s that popular phrase often given as the reason climbers attempt to scale Mount Everest: ‘Because it is there.’ That’s pretty much the same explanation Andie Nelson gave, in addition to being a new challenge, for successfully completing the 28.5-mile 20 Bridges Manhattan Swim around the famous New York City island-borough on Aug. 24. It was the first time the Arlington resident attempted the swim.” [Sun Gazette]
Pair Face Drug, Robbery Charges — “800 block of S. Frederick Street. At approximately 5:43 p.m. on October 10, police were dispatched to the report of a burglary just occurred. Based upon information provided by dispatch and witnesses in the area, a lookout was broadcast and two of the three suspects were located and taken into custody without incident. The investigation determined that the three known suspects allegedly forced entry into the victim’s apartment and physically assaulted her before stealing two cell phones and fleeing the scene on foot. During a search of the two suspects incident to arrest, items consistent with drug paraphernalia were recovered.” [ACPD]
Clarendon Road Closure Today — From the Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services: “Wednesday 9am – 1pm: Temporary closure of EB Washington Blvd between N Kirkwood and Wilson Blvd for roadway infrastructure. Expect detour at Kirkwood to 10th St North, then to Wilson. WB Washington Blvd open but expect delays.” [Twitter]
Volunteer to Remove Trail Bumps — From Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail: “Tired of those bumps on the trail? Volunteer to help us fix them. Volunteer to fix the bumps near Memorial Bridge on 10/16.” [Twitter, Eventbrite]
Video Tour of Local Fire Station — From the Arlington County Fire Department: “Since COVID prevented us from opening up our fire stations to tours during fire prevention week, we hope our community enjoys this video tour of Fire Station 5 given by the members assigned there on C Shift.” [Twitter, YouTube]
On Saturday, Oct. 23, the Arlington County Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration will offer contactless, drive-thru drug disposal from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at police department headquarters (1425 N. Courthouse Road) and Fire Station No. 5 (1750 S. Hayes Street). It’s part of a nationwide effort by the DEA.
This disposal service is free and anonymous. Officers will remove items from cars as participants drive by, and there will be a separate drop-off area for cyclists and pedestrians.
Police say this is an “opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.”
The event comes amid a historic spike in fatal overdoses. ACPD reports that there have been more overdoses in 2021 than in any year since the county started tracking cases in 2014.
“That’s why it’s more important than ever that members of the public take advantage of this potentially lifesaving program as well as other treatment resources available in Arlington County and through the Department of Human Services,” the release said.
Participants can drop off tablets, capsules, patches and other solid forms of prescription drugs. Vape pens and other kinds of e-cigarettes, with the batteries removed, will also be accepted. The locations will not accept liquids, including intravenous solutions, syringes, other sharps and illegal drugs.
For those unable to attend the event, Arlington County has four permanent drug disposal boxes available at the following locations:
- Fire Station 2 (4805 Wilson Blvd)
- Fire Station 5 (1750 S. Hayes Street)
- Fire Station 9 (1900 S. Walter Reed Drive)
- Arlington County Police Department (1425 N. Courthouse Road)
More than 7,000 pounds of prescription drugs have been safely disposed of since these sites were set up in 2018, according to police.
Police Make Numerous DUI Arrests — From the Arlington County Police Department: “ACPD Officers are committed to making our roadways safer by identifying, stopping, and apprehending impaired drivers. Last week (September 12 – 18), officers made 16 arrests for Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Motorists are reminded that it is never okay to drink and drive.” [Twitter]
ACPD Warning of Tainted Cocaine — “Please take steps to protect yourself and others who may be in possession of cocaine purchased in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The nasal spray Narcan (also known as Naloxone) can save the life of someone who is overdosing from substances containing opioids, if given in time, and test strips can detect dangerous fentanyl-laced drugs before they are used.” [Arlington County]
Man Stabbed Near Columbia Pike — ” The investigation revealed that at approximately 1:15 a.m., the victim was walking in the area when he was pushed from behind by the unknown suspect and fell to the ground. The suspect then brandished a knife and demanded money from the victim before stabbing him and stealing his wallet. The suspect fled the scene on foot and the victim returned to his residence before determining he was in need of medical services.” [ACPD]
Gusty Storm Yesterday Afternoon — “A 39 mph wind gust was recorded at National Airport with the storm that passed through Arlington earlier this afternoon, per the National Weather Service.” [Twitter]
Power Outages After Wednesday’s Storm — “More than 1,000 homes and businesses are currently without power in Arlington. The largest outage is affecting the area around Kenmore Middle School.” [Twitter]
School Bond Funds New ‘Heights’ Entrance — “A new entrance to the Shriver Program, which is collocated with H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program in Rosslyn, is needed to make it easier for those with disabilities to access the building and the parking lot… More funds are need to permit ‘the completion of a design that we had intended in the first place – complete it the right way,’ Kanninen said. The $11.39 million project accounts for nearly half the proposed $23 million school bond that goes to voters on Nov. 2.” [Sun Gazette]
Klobuchar to Canvass in Arlington Sunday — “Join us for a Weekend of Action canvass in Arlington with Senator Amy Klobuchar & Governor Terry McAuliffe! We’ll be talking with our neighbors about the issues that are important to them — and why Terry McAuliffe, Hala Ayala, Mark Herring, and Alfonso Lopez are the right people to move Virginia forward in 2021.” [Mobilize]
Update to Metro Story — A report from the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission suggests that the person who fell from a train while walking between railcars near the Clarendon station was the son of a WMATA employee. He was able to continue on to Tysons but suffered significant injuries, was bleeding heavily and was later hospitalized. [ARLnow]
County Mulls Immigration Policies — “The Arlington County Board unveiled a draft framework for a Commitment to Strengthening Trust with Our Immigrant Community… ‘We are sharing an updated framework and seeking community engagement on policies on the next steps on access to public services, protecting resident’s information, and making sure Arlington County resources are not used to facilitate enforcement of federal immigration laws, which are the sole responsibility of the Federal government.'” [Arlington County]
Mixed Reaction to New County Logo — “For the Arlingtonians packed into outdoor restaurant seating on a warm night in Shirlington over the weekend, reaction to the new logo was mixed. ‘That’s what that is? That’s the river between Arlington and D.C.? I’m completely underwhelmed,’ said Lisa Peterson… But a few blocks away, Kaleb Tecleab, a 49-year-old security engineer, said he appreciated an ‘inclusive’ design that hinted at a greater sense of regionalism.” [Washington Post]
Local Teen Earns Prestigious Scholarship — “Adie Selassie of Arlington, a senior at Sidwell Friends School, was the only Virginian to be named a 2021 Calvin Coolidge Presidential Scholar. The program, overseen by the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation, is a merit-based competition that provides full tuition, room, board, books and expenses for four years at a college of the student’s choice.” [Sun Gazette]
Crystal City Eatery Wins Award — From the National Landing Business Improvement District: “We are so lucky to have [Peruvian Brothers] as a part of our National Landing community! Congrats on the RAMMY! Well deserved!” [Twitter]
Grumbles About Slow Library Reopening — “On Saturday, the board of Friends of the Arlington Public Library blasted the county government to its very face (electronically-speaking) at the County Board meeting. In no uncertain terms, the organization (not generally known as a group of bomb-throwers) blasted the county government for multiple failures in setting the stage for an expeditious, safe reopening.” [Sun Gazette]
Nearby: Police Warn of Overdose Danger — “Fairfax County, Virginia, Police Chief Kevin Davis on Tuesday said six people overdosed in the predawn hours in [the Skyline area], and warned that a potentially fatal batch of cocaine laced with fentanyl might still be circulating in the area. All six victims, who ranged in age from 23 to 35, survived, although one victim is still ‘clinging to life’ in a hospital, Davis said. Three others remain hospitalized. They were found at a residence in the 5500 block of Seminary Road, near South George Mason Drive, a little after 3 a.m.” [WTOP]
Northam Declares State of Emergency — “Governor Ralph Northam today declared a state of emergency to respond to impacts from Tropical Depression Ida, which is expected to cause heavy rains and flooding along the I-81 and I-66 corridors. Localities in the southwest region have already experienced heavy rainfall in recent days, leading to flash floods and complicating storm preparation efforts. In addition to the flood threat, there is also a risk of tornadoes across the Commonwealth.” [Gov. Ralph Northam]
Jail to Distribute Fentanyl Tests — “Beginning September 1, 2021, Arlington County will begin to distribute fentanyl test strips to individuals being released from incarceration. This new effort is in response to rising overdose numbers.” [Arlington County]
Pike Apartment Building Sold — “Zurich Alternative Asset Management has sold Siena Park, a 188-unit multifamily community in Arlington, Va., for $80.1 million. The property includes 33,602 square feet of retail and 17,373 square feet of office space. Located at 2301 Columbia Pike, Siena Park is just 15 minutes from Washington, D.C.” [Commercial Observer]
Marymount Testing VR Headsets — “Eric Bubar, a Marymount associate professor of physics, has led 3D printing projects and testing for face masks and other polymer-based personal protective equipment. But more recently, the professor… is working with three other science faculty members to develop virtual reality technology for Marymount chemistry students to take lab classes remotely — and, perhaps in the future, for physical therapy patients.” [Washington Business Journal]
Local Catholic Org Seeking Help with Refugees — “Following the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, diocesan Catholic Charities has issued a plea for resources to support Afghan refugees resettling in Virginia as the Taliban’s rapid resurgence prompted Afghan translators and others who assisted U.S. military forces to flee the country along with their families… Catholic Charities has prioritized finding properties for rent in Fredericksburg, Sterling and Woodbridge, as the agency hopes to place the Afghans near family and friends in the area.” [Arlington Catholic Herald]
It’s National Preparedness Month — “It’s a situation everyone has experienced: The media and public safety agencies warn of an impending storm, chance of power outages, and loss of service. But you find yourself scrambling at the last minute for batteries, water, and ideas to keep your family entertained. Disasters don’t plan ahead — even during a pandemic — but you can.” [Arlington County]
After a spike in opioid overdoses this weekend, the Arlington County Police Department is urging residents to take advantage of local substance abuse resources.
On Sunday, ACPD investigated two fatal overdoses and one overdose that left another person in critical condition, according to a news release.
Police said they suspect the overdoses are linked to heroin and prescription painkillers mixed with fentanyl.
“This is a dangerous and potentially life-threatening situation,” the release said. “Due to the severity of these incidents, members of the public who may be affected by addiction or opioid use are urged to take steps to protect themselves and others through available resources in Arlington.”
This year, Arlington first responders have administered nasal Naloxone, also known as Narcan, 31 times to reverse an overdose from prescription painkillers or heroin, according to ACPD.
“Narcan is available over the counter without a prescription,” the release said. “Arlingtonians can request free Narcan and REVIVE (Narcan) training by emailing the Department of Human Services.”
The epidemic continues to ravage Arlington County. After a downturn in 2018 and 2019, last year saw a resurgence in opioid-related overdoses, according to a new ACPD report. The dozens of reported overdoses in 2020 matched the number (74) reported at the peak of the opioid epidemic in 2017.
Officers investigated 20 fatal overdoses and 54 non-fatal overdoses in 2020, more than any other year since it began actively tracking incidents involving opioids in 2014, the report said.
Officials previously told ARLnow that the pandemic is likely to blame for much of the resurgence.
“There are a lot of reasons why people have relapses,” said Suzanne Somerville, the bureau chief for Residential and Specialized Clinical Services in DHS. “A lot of it does have to do with employment. A lot of our clients… work in the service industry and a lot of them lost their jobs.”
While the battle against addiction continues within the county, Arlington is suing dozens of businesses it alleges are key players in the epidemic. The suit, which seeks $150 million plus punitive damages of $350,000 per defendant, is currently mired in a squabble over where the case should be tried.
More information on overdoses, from the press release, below.
Signs of an Overdose
If you observe someone experiencing the following overdose symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately:
- Slow or shallow breathing
- Dizziness or confusion
- Cold or clammy skin
- Vomiting or gurgling
- Blue lips and/or fingernails
- Not responsive or sleeping and cannot be woken up
- Deep gurgling or rattling snore
Arlington County first responders carry Nasal Naloxone (also known as Narcan®), a safe and effective medication that can reverse an overdose from prescription painkillers or heroin. Narcan is available over the counter without a prescription. Arlingtonians can request free Narcan and REVIVE (Narcan) training by emailing the Department of Human Services.
Key Contact Information
Programs and Services
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, there are numerous treatment resources available in Arlington and through the Department of Human Services. Assistance is also available through Operation Safe Station, a designated safe environment where individuals wishing to seek help with their drug use can self-report and receive services, without fear of prosecution and incarceration. Community members are also encouraged to prevent medication misuse or overdose by safely disposing of unused, unwanted or expired prescription medication in one of Arlington’s four permanent drug take-back boxes or by requesting a free deactivation bag.
Soldier Cleared of Charges After Months in Jail — “A former Old Guard member who was arrested with a carload of weapons near Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Northern Virginia had all of his charges dropped — but says the incident has already destroyed his life. Curtis Wells spent seven months in jail for alleged crimes that were just thrown out by an Arlington County judge.” [NBC 4]
Stabbing at East Falls Church Metro — “The male victim and the known male suspect became involved in a verbal dispute, during which the suspect produced a knife. The victim put his hands up to protect himself, during which he suffered a laceration. The victim was treated at the hospital for a minor injury.” [ACPD]
Drug Take-Back Day Coming Up — “On Saturday, April 24, 2021, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Arlington County Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will provide the public the opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. This disposal service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.” [ACPD]
What It’s Like to Work at the Rosslyn Safeway — “We talk in an airless, subterranean breakroom at Safeway store 1048 in Arlington, Va., a typical, prosperous suburb of Washington, D.C. The low-slung store sits partially submerged next to an underground parking garage on the main drag of the Rosslyn neighborhood, full of gleaming office buildings and apartment towers that look like office buildings… The one thing Safeway’s workers have going for them is their union.” [In These Times]
An Arlington man was sentenced yesterday (Feb. 24) to 12 years and 7 months in prison for his participation in a conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid.
Cornelius Frazier, 32, would press pills containing fentanyl so that they would resemble prescription pills (like Oxycodone) so that he could distribute for financial gain, according to a U.S. Justice Department press release and court documents.
“As this case demonstrates, fentanyl is not only extremely dangerous because of its potency, but also because it may be hidden in counterfeit prescription pills,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, who took over the role on an interim basis last month. “We are grateful to the numerous law enforcement agencies that worked with our Office on this investigation and prevented kilograms of fentanyl from poisoning our communities and harming our loved ones. Their tireless efforts are saving lives.”
A number of local law enforcement agencies were involved, including the Arlington County Police Department, Falls Church Police Department, and Alexandria Police Department, per the release.
An Arlington man was sentenced to 151 months in prison for participating in a conspiracy to distribute fentanyl. This investigation highlights the collaboration between law enforcement and prosecutors to hold accountable those trafficking deadly narcotics into our communities. https://t.co/l6CD11OMPH
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) February 24, 2021
On June 1, 2020, a search of Frazier’s vehicle found more than 5,000 pills which tested positive for fentanyl as well as two brick-like packages weighing more than 1.6 kilograms which also tested positive for the presence of fentanyl.
A search of Frazier’s home ended in the seizure of a blender with about a kilogram of a mixture containing fentanyl. Law enforcement seized paraphernalia often associated with prescription drug trafficking including dust collectors with residue, a hydraulic jack, cutting agents, and pill presses containing markings consistent with Oxycodone, according to federal prosecutors.
Also found: nearly $35,000 in cash, a loaded AK-47 with thirty bullets loaded in the magazine, and other guns.
Some officials believe that the pandemic holds much of the blame for the resurgence.
Full press release is below.
A local teen is in custody and two others are being sought by police after an alleged drug deal led to a serious assault.
The incident happened shortly after 11 p.m. last night in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood, near Ballston. Police say an arranged sale of narcotics ended with the victim being beaten with batons by several people.
The victim was hospitalized with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
Police searched the area and arrested a 19-year-old suspect while he was walking along the nearby Custis Trail. Two other suspects have been identified and are expected to face charges, police said.
More from today’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:
MALICIOUS WOUNDING BY MOB, 2020-12140181, 4600 block of 13th Street N. At approximately 11:17 p.m. on December 14, police were dispatched to the report of a fight in progress. Arriving officers located the victim, who had sustained serious injuries, and rendered aid prior to the arrival of medics. The victim was transported to an area hospital with serious, but non life threatening injuries. The investigation determined that the victim and three suspects met for the arranged sale of narcotics, and a physical altercation ensued between the parties. The suspects allegedly struck the victim multiple times with batons, causing lacerations. A bystander yelled at the involved parties, at which time, the suspects fled on foot. Officers canvasing the area located Suspect One walking on the Custis Trail, made contact with him, and took him into custody without incident. Anthony Silvers, 19, of Arlington, Va., was arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding by Mob. He was held on no bond. The other involved suspects were identified and charges are pending.
Also on Monday, a pair of suspects broke into, damaged and stole from four businesses in Clarendon and East Falls Church.
COMMERCIAL BURGLARY (series), 2020-12140035/0039/0052/0089, 2100 block of N. Westmoreland Street/1100 block of N. Hudson Street/ 3000 block of Washington Boulevard. Overnight on December 14, two unknown suspects forced entry to four businesses, causing damage. At approximately 2:27 a.m., the suspects forced entry to business one in the 2100 block of N. Westmoreland Street, tampered with items, and stole a safe. At approximately 2:20 a.m., the suspects forced entry to business two, also in the 2100 block of N. Westmoreland Street, and rummaged through items, however, nothing was reported stolen. Between 1:30 a.m. and 2:00 a.m., the suspects forced entry to a third business in the 1100 block of N. Hudson Street and stole a safe and an undisclosed amount of cash. At approximately 2:45 a.m., the suspects forced entry to a fourth business in the 3000 block of Washington Boulevard, and stole an undisclosed amount of cash. Suspect One is described as a tall male, wearing a light colored jacket with the hood up, dark pants, black shoes and light colored gloves. Suspect Two is described as a tall male, wearing a black sweatshirt with the hood up, black pants, white gloves, black shoes, and a light colored face wrap. The investigations are ongoing.
Map via Google Maps