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CHP-Merced officers make 'largest fentanyl bust' in San Joaquin Valley history

Officers found 75 pounds of counterfeit oxycodone pills, believed to contain fentanyl, worth around $3 million on the black market.
Credit: CHP Merced

MERCED, Calif. — Officers with the California Highway Patrol's (CHP) Merced office say they made the largest fentanyl bust in San Joaquin Valley history.

According to a post on Facebook, a CHP officer stopped a 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan for speeding Friday. During the traffic stop, the officer noticed factors that led him to believe that the driver and passenger of the car were involved in criminal activity.

The officer enlisted the help of a CHP K9, who sniffed the outside of the car and alerted the officer to the odor of narcotics, the CHP says. 

The officer then searched the car, finding 75 pounds of counterfeit oxycodone pills believed to contain fentanyl, which is a synthetic opioid drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for some medical uses. On the streets, the potentially lethal drug is often found laced into other drugs with users in many cases unaware that fentanyl is present. 

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The high potency of fentanyl, which is 100 times higher than the potency of morphine according to the CHP, has the power to kill in small doses. The CHP says that drug trafficking organizations usually distribute fentanyl by the kilogram, one of which has the potential to kill 500,000 people.

Both the driver and passenger of the car were arrested by the CHP on charges of possessing cocaine for sale and selling, transporting, furnishing, administering or importing controlled substances.

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