California Drug Bust Found Enough Opioids To ‘Kill More Than 50 Million People’

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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Harry Wilmerding Contributor
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Local authorities charged a California man and woman Thursday in a massive drug bust that found more than 46 pounds of a lethal and potent synthetic opioid, multiple sources reported.

Andres Jesus Morales, 30, and Christine Ponce, 27, were charged with four drug-related felonies with the intent to sell a controlled substance, the Riverside district attorney’s office announced. The Riverside Police Department raided Morales’ and Ponce’s home in Perris, California, on Aug. 17, where they found 46.2 pounds of carfentanil, 8.8 pounds of cocaine, and 2.2 pounds of heroin, according to USA Today. (RELATED: Overdose Deaths Linked To Elephant Tranquilizer More Than Double Across West Virginia)

Carfentanil is a synthetic opioid 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times stronger than fentanyl, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. It is typically used to tranquilize elephants and other large animals.

“If mixed with other drugs, the 21 kilos of carfentanil seized could have been enough to potentially kill more than 50 million people,” the district attorney’s office said in the statement.

Morales and Ponce pleaded not guilty and are being held in prison without bail, according to USA Today. The investigation is ongoing and the next court date is scheduled for Nov. 9.

Thursday’s drug bust is believed to be the largest seizure of carfentanil in Riverside County history, according to the district attorney’s office.

“Our Narcotics Unit Detectives believe that with every seizure of fentanyl or other derivatives, they are making a dent in the drug problem within our communities,” a spokesperson from the Riverside County Police Department told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Every pill or small drop of this poison they can take off the streets, is one less overdose that could lead to death,” the spokesperson added.

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