NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Enough cheap Fentanyl to kill 14 million people was seized in Virginia on Thursday. Fentanyl can be stronger and more lethal than heroin and is responsible for tens of thousands of American drug deaths each year.
In the wake of growing efforts to stop Fentanyl from China to the United States, the multi-state drug ring bust was announced. 39 people were charged for ordering Fentanyl from a vendor in Shanghai. One of the 39 charged “had it mailed through the U.S. Postal Service to a neighborhood in Newport News,” G. Zachary Terwilliger, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said at a news conference in Norfolk.
“Efforts have been growing to pressure China to help the U.S. to fight the opioid scourge and for the U.S. to better detect the drug in the mail” Terwilliger said.
“We have to get the Chinese to stop doing this,” Terwilliger said. “We also have to get really good at detecting it in the U.S. mails. … The last thing we want is for the U.S. Postal Service to become the nation’s largest drug dealer.”
The opioid often comes from across the Mexico border or through the mail. The 30 kilograms (about 66 pounds) of fentanyl that were seized in this bust were intended for an area in southeastern Virginia known as the Peninsula, which includes the cities of Hampton and Newport News.
The bust in Virginia involved more than 120 law enforcement officers from 30 federal, state and local agencies in Virginia, North Carolina and Texas.
Besides the fentanyl, authorities said they seized 24 guns, large quantities of heroin and cocaine and more than $700,000 in cash.