- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 6, 2015

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - A University of North Dakota student who was found unresponsive in a home near campus last month died from an overdose of powdered fentanyl, an autopsy released Wednesday shows.

Alex Davis, 22, of West Saint Paul, Minnesota, is believed to be the third person in the Grand Forks area who has died this year from ingesting the powerful synthetic drug. A half-dozen people are facing federal charges for dealing fentanyl and other drugs that made people sick, although it’s not clear who supplied the fentanyl to Davis.

UND Police Sgt. Danny Weigel, who released the cause of Davis’ death, said several agencies are working together to warn people about the dangers of powdered fentanyl. He says Altru Hospital in Grand Forks released an informational video Tuesday that already had been viewed about 6,000 times on social media.

“It’s gone over pretty well,” Weigel said. “That’s the big thing we’re trying to do, is educate people. This drug is 100 times stronger than morphine and 20 to 30 times stronger than heroin, on average. It’s a very dangerous drug.”

Authorities say the fentanyl that led to some overdoses was obtained from Brandon Hubbard, of Portland, Oregon, who’s accused of supplying large quantities of drugs to people in Grand Forks and elsewhere. Hubbard has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances resulting in serious bodily injury and death, and money laundering.

The affidavit says Hubbard told agents that in November he placed an order with a Canadian source for fentanyl citrate and the drugs were delivered in FedEx packages from China. Hubbard said he bought about $1.5 million worth of the narcotics in November alone, according to court documents.

Grand Forks police have issued two public warnings about fentanyl in the last four months and are planning a public forum to talk about it.

“It kind of came out of left field,” Weigel said. “But we’re going to continue to investigate it and work with (Grand Forks police) and others, and hopefully get rid of it.”

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