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Boyfriend of fentanyl mom arrested

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 5:16 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -The boyfriend of the Reno woman facing charges of exposing her 9-month-old child to the powerful opioid, fentanyl has himself been arrested. The alleged reason? Selling drugs to raise money for her bail.

This continuing story began with a call to Truckee Meadows Fire nearly two weeks ago. A 9-month-old boy was unresponsive, not breathing. Firemen revived him and he was transported to the hospital, but it was immediately apparent he had ingested fentanyl. His mother--30-year-old Elizabeth Irvin--was booked on a list of charges including possession and child abuse.

There was more to come.

She allegedly managed to smuggle some of the drug into the jail, hidden inside her body. Two days later her cellmate overdosed. Irvin’s hidden stash was discovered, but according to the arrest report obtained by KOLO 8 News Now, she told an officer from the Regional Narcotics Unit, she had no more of the drug. She’d left it with a friend.

That friend apparently had given it to Irvin’s boyfriend, 38-year-old Joseph Salemi, who, Irvin said, was selling it to raise money for her bail.

The narcotics unit was familiar with Salemi and began looking for him. Tuesday they spotted him in south Reno. After a traffic stop, a search of his vehicle found more than 24 grams of fentanyl as well as some methamphetamine, several scales commonly used to weigh narcotics, dozens of baggies and more than $6,500 in cash. A woman in the car told officers he had asked her to hide some of the drugs in her bra.

Salemi was booked on two counts of possession and two of possession for sales. It was not the first time for either. They were arrested in April on similar charges.

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