Law enforcement seized nearly two dozen kilos of carfentanil, which is 100 times stronger than fentanyl and 10,000 times more powerful than morphine, in Riverside County, California.
Andres Jesus Morales, 30, and Alyssa Christine Ponce, 27, were each charged with four counts of felony “possession for sales of fentanyl, cocaine, and heroin,” according to a September 23 press release from Riverside County’s Office of the District Attorney.
After an investigation that began earlier this year by Riverside police detectives from the Narcotics Unit, authorities conducted a search of a property on Gilmmer Way in Perris, California on August 17 after securing a warrant the release states. Authorities say that they seized 21 kilos of carfentanil, four kilos of cocaine, and one kilo of heroin during the search.
No one was present at the residence during the search, but “detectives were able to identify Morales and Ponce as the suspects,” according to the press release.
On September 14 another search took place at a residence on Limousin Street in Perris, California. Authorities located 16 kilos of cocaine in the garage with the assistance of K-9 officer Link during the search. Morales and Ponce were then apprehended and booked at Robert Presley Detention Center according to the report.
Both of the defendants were arraigned at Riverside’s Hall of Justice on September 23 and await their next hearing on November 9. No bail has been granted to Morales or Ponce.
“If mixed in with other drugs, the 21 kilos of carfentanil seized could have been enough to potentially kill more than 50 million people,” the release states.
Carfentanil is a synthetic opioid that is 100 times stronger than fentanyl and 10,000 more powerful than morphine according to an Officer Safety Alert from the DEA.
“Carfentanil is used as a tranquilizing agent for elephants and other large mammals,” the safety alert states. “The lethal dose range for carfentanil in humans is unknown; however, carfentanil is approximately 100 times more potent than fentanyl, which can be lethal at the 2- milligram range, depending on route of administration and other factors.”
“Carfentanil is surfacing in more and more communities. We see it on the streets, often disguised as heroin. It is crazy dangerous,” explained DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg in a press release regarding the drug. “Synthetics such as fentanyl and carfentanil can kill you. I hope our first responders – and the public – will read and heed our health and safety warning. These men and women have remarkably difficult jobs and we need them to be well and healthy.”