In what can be touted as one of the largest fentanyl busts in the history of the United States, the Nebraska State Patrol has confirmed seizing nearly 118 pounds or 120lbs (54kg) of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid in April 2018. As per the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), 2 milligrams of fentanyl are enough to kill a person, thus going by that, 118 pounds of fentanyl could kill about 26,761,928 people.
The drug bust was initially announced by the state troopers on May 1, 2018, stating that they had seized around 117 pounds of narcotics during a traffic stop on the Interstate-80 near Kearney on April 26, 2018. The troopers observed that a semi-trailer was being driven on the shoulder of the motorway. On stopping the vehicle, the troopers became suspicious of a criminal activity and on searching the vehicle, in a false compartment located in the empty trailer, they found 42 foil-wrapped packages containing 73 pounds of cocaine and 44 pounds of an unidentified powder, which they suspected to be fentanyl.
Two New Jersey citizens, Felipe Genao Minaya (46) and Nelson Nynez (52), the accompanying passenger were arrested from the spot on charges of possession of drugs. The two of them were lodged in Buffalo County Jail as they were found to have an intent to deliver the drug and had no Drug Tax stamp. Both of them were being held on a bond of $100,000. The seized narcotics were estimated to have a street value of $5 million-$10 million.
Fentanyl is a lethal drug
A synthetic opiate that offers relief from pain caused due to severe injury or surgery, fentanyl is a Schedule II drug 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin and about 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Commonly abused by individuals for its pain relieving and relaxing effects, using this drug can make one exhibit symptoms like depression, slurred speech, confusion, hallucinations, vomiting, weakness and weight loss. In case, one continues to use it over a long period of time, he/she may experience effects like seizures, difficulty in breathing, social withdrawal and delusions.
Curbing drug availability may help
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the overdose death rate involving synthetic opioids, other than methadone, more than doubled during 2016. This increase was likely driven by illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF). Taking due cognizance of the severity of the condition and the ease at which the drugs are available, the federal and state governments have started taking stringent steps every year. This, in turn, has led to some major drug confiscations and busts in the past few years. Going by the reports of Drug War Facts, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) estimated that there were 1,572,579 arrests for drug law violations in the U.S. in 2016.
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