Police forces in Clackamas County, Oregon, arrested four accused drug traffickers, leading authorities to the seizure of 150,000 fentanyl pills—the largest seizure of fentanyl in the state's history. A press release by the Department of Justice detailed Thursday that the staggering find was valued at close to $4 million.
Authorities have charged Ufrano Orozco Munoz, 27, Abraham Vera Enriquez, 29, Jesus Miguel Zamora Cruz, 36, and Jose Javier Valdez Paramo, 32, with conspiring with one another to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl
In a court memo, Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Kerin emphasized the significance of the seizure. "To say that the defendants are significant drug dealers is an understatement. Fentanyl is extremely destructive and deadly, and these defendants should not be given the opportunity to start dealing again," Kevin said.
Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is about 80-100 times stronger than morphine, according to US Drug Enforcement Administration. Often ingested to produce a short-term euphoric high, the drug slows respiration and reduces blood pressure.
Authorities apprehended the four suspects Tuesday night at a pre-arranged deal agreement with a federal informant, The Oregonian reported.
The four suspects allegedly arrived in two separate vehicles and initiated the trade by pulling out a portion of the product from the trunk of one of the cars. At this point, investigators closed in on the deal, apprehending the suspects.
According to research by the Marshall Project, a non-profit criminal justice news organization, the struggle against the distribution of fentanyl has been a relatively recent challenge for the state of Oregon.
The drug is rising in popularity, posting a challenge not only to the state of Oregon but to the entire country. Reports from the Department of Health indicate that last year, opioid-related deaths eclipsed 2020's levels by November. In just six months, opioids had caused as many as 53,000 deaths nationwide.