A routine traffic stop of a truck driver in Kearney, Neb., turned into the largest seizure of the deadly opioid fentanyl in the history of the state.
An officer with the Nebraska State Patrol pulled over a freight truck driving on Interstate 80 April 26 for driving on the shoulder and quickly became suspicious of criminal activity. The truck looked empty; however, during a search, the officer discovered a false compartment stashed with a massive amount of narcotics, The Columbus Telegram reported.
Police seized a total of 73 pound of cocaine and 44 pounds of suspected fentanyl. If a pending crime lab test confirms the substance is fentanyl, it would be the largest seizure of the synthetic opioid in Nebraska’s history. Officers did not conduct a field test of the substance due to the potentially fatal risk of exposure to fentanyl.
Both the driver of the truck and a passenger were arrested and taken to Buffalo County jail. The street value of the total drug haul is between $5 and $10 million, officials estimate.
Large quantities of narcotics continue to infiltrate the U.S. due to traffickers’ relentless efforts. However, the Department of Justice under Attorney General Jeff Sessions is gaining ground against drug movers taking advantage of America’s opioid scourge.
“Fentanyl is the number-one killer drug in the United States today, and most of it comes from China,” Sessions said in a statement April 27.
Federal officials recently scored a major victory against narcotics traffickers during an investigation of a distribution network, confiscating enough fentanyl to kill a quarter million Americans.
U.S. attorney Mike Stuart, serving the Southern District of West Virginia, announced April 17 charges against nearly 100 individuals involved in a massive drug trafficking ring operating in West Virginia and Michigan. The investigation, dubbed Operation Saigon Sunset, targeted the multi-state Peterson Drug Trafficking Organization and involved more than 200 law enforcement officers from federal, state and local levels.
Federal authorities recently charged 75 people for money laundering and narcotics trafficking, including fentanyl, linked to the Sinaloa Cartel.
The U.S. Department of Justice unsealed 40 indictments March 8 in a San Diego federal court, detailing how a network of individuals conspired to launder tens of millions of dollars in drug cash between 2015 and 2018. Another 35 people were charged over the course of the DOJ’s multi-year investigation into the organization’s criminal activity.
Drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death for Americans under age 50, killing more than 64,000 people in 2016.
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