Largest Seizure of Fentanyl in Virginia State Police History
A 25-year-old woman from Vinton, Virginia, faces criminal charges for drug trafficking, after Virginia State Police found approximately 2,000 grams of fentanyl in her car, as reported by The Roanoke Times. Fentanyl is an illegal drug that has led to countless overdoses and deaths in Virginia, killing approximately 620 people in the past year.
Virginia State Police troopers pulled over the Vinton woman on Interstate 81 in Rockingham County. The woman was speeding, driving 72 miles per hour in a 60 mile-per-hour zone.
When troopers approached the woman’s motor vehicle, they sensed something was amiss. The troopers observed that the woman was in distress. She was breathing heavily, with glassy eyes and a throbbing vein in her neck.
As a result, the troopers decided to search the woman’s vehicle, enlisting the help of a drug dog. After sniffing around the vehicle, the drug dog indicated that there was something in the trunk. The troopers peeled back the carpet lining of the trunk and found a large steel plate bolted in place.
Underneath the large steel plate, troopers found two bundles wrapped in plastic and covered with odor-masking liquids. The troopers initially thought that the bundles contained cocaine, given the color and powdered nature of the contents. But after extensive lab testing, authorities concluded that the bundles contained fentanyl.
After weighing out the contents, authorities concluded that woman was in possession of approximately 2,000 grams of fentanyl. That amount equates to approximately two kilograms or four pounds.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) estimates that one kilogram of fentanyl adds up to approximately 500,000 fatal dosages of the illegal drug. So the Vinton woman was in possession of approximately one million fatal dosages of fentanyl.
In terms of background, fentanyl is a dangerously addictive, synthetic opioid that continues to contribute to the explosion of fatal drug overdoses nationwide. Normally, fentanyl is produced legally by pharmaceutical companies for use with pain management. Doctors frequently prescribe fentanyl to patients recovering from surgical procedures or other painful medical conditions.
With the opioid epidemic in full swing, however, there is a growing illegal market for fentanyl. The DEA reports that laboratories have sprung up to produce fentanyl for illegal sales on the black market. The DEA believes that there are major such laboratories in China and Mexico already.
This rise in illegal production of fentanyl has law enforcement scrambling to keep with rising supply and demand. Over the course of one year, from January 2016 and 2017, U.S. law enforcement officials seized almost 50 different one-kilogram caches of illegally produced fentanyl.
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