PHOENIX, ARIZONA – The Phoenix Police Department has seized 137,000 Fentanyl pills with an estimated street value of $2.5 million. This was during a drug bust in cooperation with the Drug Enforcement Administration task force, police said in a statement released on Friday, AZCentral.com reports.
Authorities in Phoenix were alerted earlier in January about a man supplying fentanyl pills to local drug dealers. The task force pulled over Alexis Meza, age 20 while he was driving in his car on Thursday night near Thomas Road and 24th Street, AZ Central reported the police statement as saying.
122,000 fentanyl pills were found in Meza’s vehicle. Police then searched the suspect’s apartment near 43rd Avenue and Indian School where they discovered a large number of fentanyl pills, methamphetamine, cocaine, firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and just some marijuana.
In total, authorities seized 137,100 fentanyl pills, three kilograms of fentanyl, along with 38 pounds of meth, $5,000 in cash, two rifles, seven handguns, rounds of ammo, and four vehicles.
According to AZCentral.com, the statement from police said the arrest comes after authorities seized more than 165,000 pills of fentanyl last week from age 24 Marcelino Quintero.
Alexis Meza was booked into the Fourth Avenue jail pending various drug-related charges.
Fentanyl, the synthetic opioid, is up to 50 times more potent than heroin. The potency of the drug is due to its chemical structure, which allows the fentanyl to transport itself through the blood-brain barrier at a higher efficiency than other opioids.
Physicians do prescribe fentanyl for severe pain management, such as pain relating to advanced stages of cancer. It is commonly prescribed in the forms of a lozenge, candy, or a nasal spray.
However, federal drug and health officials say that fentanyl from the pharmaceutical industry is only a small percentage of what’s on the streets. The fentanyl that is fueling the rise of overdoses and deaths is mostly illicitly manufactured, AZ Central wrote.
“The drug problem is impacting the lives of people in and around the Phoenix area,” AZ Central quoted the police statement. “If you or someone you know needs help with a substance abuse problem, reach out to the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).”