In mid-October, Southern California authorities announced the seizure of 18 pounds of the potent synthetic opioid fentanyl. Investigators say the amount was sufficient to create 4 million deadly doses of the drug and has an estimated street value of $1.25 million.
Local media outlets report that deputies from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department uncovered the fentanyl after executing a search warrant at the home of a 60-year-old man. They also allegedly discovered heroin, methamphetamine, a semi-automatic handgun and $71,000 in cash during the search. The man was arrested and charged with multiple drug crimes.
According to public health experts, America is currently experiencing an opioid crisis. In 2017, opioids killed approximately 47,000 people across the U.S. Fentanyl, which is 50 times stronger than heroin, has been blamed for a significant portion of those deaths. Developed in the 1960s as a powerful painkiller for advanced-stage cancer patients, it is now often mixed with illegal opioids to increase potency. However, even tiny amounts of the drug can cause people to overdose. The deaths of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs and musicians Prince and Mac Miller have all been linked to fentanyl overdoses. U.S. cities and communities have filed over 2,000 lawsuits against opioid manufacturers Johnson & Johnson and Teva as well as opioid distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson Corporation for their roles in the opioid crisis. The companies have offered $50 billion to settle the claims.
Criminal defense attorneys might be able to assist individuals facing drug possession or drug trafficking charges. After reviewing a case, legal counsel might find sufficient grounds to challenge the prosecution’s evidence, which could lead to an acquittal or cause the charges being dropped. If that isn’t possible, an attorney may recommend negotiating a plea deal that reduces the charges and penalties.