Fresno County Sheriff’s deputies and allied drug agents this week seized an estimated $6.8 million in fentanyl during a narcotics sting.
Eduardo Zavala Lopez, 26, of Sylmar was arrested in the case. The deputies were operating as part of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area unit.
Sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti said the drugs, which are highly toxic, can be cut 100 times and used as a form of synthetic heroin.
Fentanyl has been responsible for multiple drug overdoses around the country, Sheriff Margaret Mims said.
A fentanyl overdose was found to be the cause of death for musical artist Prince in 2016.
Lopez faces felony charges of possessing narcotics for sale and transporting narcotics for sale. His bail is set at $235,000.
Undercover agents arranged to purchase 4.4 pounds of what they believed was synthetic heroin.
$6.8 millionValue of fentanyl found in Fresno County sting
The seller was traveling Los Angeles to Fresno and agents identified the suspect’s car and made a traffic stop on Highway 99 in Fresno County.
The car was later towed for a search. Agents were unsure of the drugs being transported and donned hazardous material safety suits. Fentanyl, if it’s inhaled or comes in contact with skin, is potentially fatal.
During a brief search, agents found two packages of drugs hidden in a secret compartment of the car. The drugs were later sent to the Department of Justice lab for testing and revealed as a mixture of despropionyl fentanyl and ketamine.
Fentanyl, a prescription painkiller, is said to be 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin.
The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area unit is comprised of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, California Highway Patrol, Fresno Police Department, Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, Kings County Sheriff’s Office, federal Homeland Security Investigations and the California Department of Justice.