Drug bust nets enough fentanyl to kill 90,000 people


(NewsNation) — Police in Florida recently made a major drug bust, seizing enough fentanyl to kill 90,000 people.

The bust was the culmination of a two-and-a-half month undercover operation, Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly told “NewsNation Tonight” on Monday. Officers seized 179 grams of fentanyl, 1,131 grams of cocaine, 695 grams of methamphetamine and 12 grams of heroin.

Staley attributed the presence of drugs in his county to Mexican cartels that smuggle the product across the southern border.

“There’s so many drugs coming across the border, it makes every town in America a border town,” Staly said.

An incredibly potent and lethal opioid, fentanyl is often cut into other drugs or used to create counterfeit pills disguised as Oxycontin and Adderall, among others. Fentanyl is now the leading cause of death in adults aged 18-45, according to the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Florida’s attorney general has called on the Biden administration to classify fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction. There were a record high 107,000 drug overdoses in 2021, and fentanyl was responsible for an estimated 71,000 of those, according to the CDC.

“I agree with our attorney general, it is a weapon of mass destruction,” Staly said.

As the drug epidemic has swept across the nation over the past decade, health authorities have worked to get the lifesaving medication naloxone — commonly known by the brand name Narcan — into the hands of first responders. The overdose reversing drug has been a gamechanger for many communities in combating the drug epidemic.

“In my county alone, we’ve had 15 overdose deaths since January, but we have administered Narcan 180 times,” Staly said. “If it wasn’t for the Narcan, across this country you would see the death toll be in the millions.”

And now, police are dealing with a drug that federal authorities say is 10 times worse than fentanyl. Dubbed “pyro,” the drug has been cropping up in several states.

While the drug hasn’t been found yet in Flagler County, Staly said “it’s only a matter of time” before it makes its way there. But even when it does, Staly and other officers will continue their efforts to clear the streets of drug dealers.

“We know that we save lives, and that’s what we focus on,” Staly said. “That’s our satisfaction.”

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