Two men face a slew of drug charges after they were reportedly caught in California with enough fentanyl to kill 4.7 million people — and that's in addition to 800 pounds of methamphetamine police discovered, CBS News reported on Friday.
What are the details?
Authorities say 36-year-old Edgar Alfonso Lamas and 53-year-old Carlos Raygozaparedes were busted with the drugs in Ocean County, California — the largest drug bust to take place in the Southern California county in nearly two decades.
On March 17, police made the discovery at a Buena Park home: a whopping 821 pounds of methamphetamine, approximately 190 pounds of cocaine, and more than 20 pounds of fentanyl pills.
“Millions of unsuspecting people have the grim reaper looking over their shoulder and they have no idea how close they actually are to dying from taking a single pill. Fentanyl is cheap, it’s easy to get and it is killing our children, our coworkers, and tens of thousands of innocent Americans who don’t have to die,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement on the huge drug bust.
Both Lamas and Raygozaparedes have pleaded not guilty on the drug charges.
They remain in custody on $5 million bail and are due in court on June 7.
The two face a maximum sentence of 37 years and four months in prison if convicted on all counts, which include multiple felony charges of possession for sale of a controlled substance and multiple counts of the sale or transportation for sale of a controlled substance.
Both Lamas and Raygozaparedes were also charged with two felony enhancements due to the controlled substances exceeding 80 kilograms by weight and two felony enhancements as the controlled substances exceeded 20 kilograms by weight or 400 liters by liquid volume.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration released a notice warning state and federal officials that the drug is behind a national spike in mass overdose events.
A portion of the notice, courtesy of administrator Anne Milgram, read, "The DEA is seeing a nationwide spike in fentanyl-related mass-overdose events involving three or more overdoses occurring close in time at the same location."
"In just the past two months, there have been at least 7 confirmed mass overdose events across the United States resulting in 58 overdoses and 29 overdose deaths," the letter continued. "Many of the victims of these mass overdose events thought they were ingesting cocaine and had no idea they were in fact ingesting fentanyl."
The notice warned all local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to reach out to the DEA for assistance should they experience any mass overdose events and cautioned that fentanyl is not only masquerading as cocaine, but showing up cut into other drugs and being sold as fake prescription pills appearing to be OxyContin, Percocet, and more.
Spitzer on Wednesday added, “With fentanyl in an estimated 40 percent of street drugs, it’s not a matter of if but when someone you know and love dies from fentanyl. We have to continue to do everything we can to combat this deadly drug epidemic and save lives.”
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