An Arizona state trooper made a massive drug bust when he pulled a motorist over in late August.
“During the traffic stop, the trooper observed multiple indicators of criminal activity,” said a Friday press release from the Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS). “A subsequent search of the vehicle led to the discovery of approximately 46 pounds of suspected fentanyl pills concealed in natural compartments within the vehicle.”
The suspect, 20-year-old Izayah D. Ocasio, of Phoenix, was arrested at the scene. He was booked into the Pinal County Jail on charges including possession, transportation, and sale of narcotic drugs.
Authorities said the drugs were smuggled from Nogales, Mexico, and were headed for the Phoenix area.
The 46 pounds of fentanyl, an extremely deadly substance that is often combined with other drugs and causes frequent overdoses, would be enough to kill about seven million people, according to statistics provided by the the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
“Drug trafficking organizations typically distribute fentanyl by the kilogram. One kilogram of fentanyl has the potential to kill 500,000 people,” according to the law enforcement entity.
The 46 pounds of fentanyl recovered in Arizona is equivalent to 20.8 kilograms, or 20.8 million milligrams.
The DEA estimates that a lethal dose of fentanyl is 2-3 milligrams for the average person.
Thus, Ocasio was smuggling enough of the deadly substance to kill at least seven million – but up to 10 million – people. For context, the state of Arizona has a population of just over seven million.
“According to the [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], synthetic opioids (like fentanyl) are the primary driver of overdose deaths in the United States,” the DEA says.
Between January of 2020 and January of 2021, fentanyl overdose deaths increased by more than 55 percent.
“Fentanyl remains the deadliest drug threat facing this country. According to the CDC, 107,622 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2021, with 66 percent of those deaths related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl,” according to the DEA. “Drug poisonings are the leading killer of Americans between the ages of 18 and 45. Fentanyl available in the United States is primarily supplied by two criminal drug networks, the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).”
– – –