About 24 hours ago, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts announced a recent fentanyl bust of nearly 120 pounds -- the largest drug bust in the state of Nebraska as well as one of the biggest drug busts all across the United States.
KTLA 5 reports Nebraska State Patrol pulled over a semi-truck because the driver was suspiciously driving in the shoulder lane on April 26. Nebraska State Patrol Col. John Bolduc revealed his officers searched the semi-truck after pulling the driver over and discovered a hidden compartment on the truck packed with drugs.
Initially, the Nebraska state troopers believed they had discovered a large stash of cocaine. It was not until later that additional testing revealed the state troopers busted a driver attempting to transport fentanyl.
Because of the "dangerous nature of the substance," the state troopers did not immediately test the drug to confirm whether it was cocaine or something else.
According to an estimation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, this hidden compartment on the semi-truck contained 118-pounds of fentanyl – which is enough to kill roughly 26 million people.
Fentanyl is a particularly dangerous drug as it poses a threat to anyone who comes in contact with it – even if they do not consume it. Fentanyl can be absorbed through the skin and it is possible to accidentally inhale the drug as well.
The 46-year-old truck driver, Felipe Genao-Minaya, and his 52-year-old passenger Nelson Nunez – both from New Jersey – were arrested on charges of suspicion of possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver.
Authorities have also estimated that the 118-pounds of fentanyl recovered in this recent Nebraska drug bust is valued at around $20 million.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, fentanyl is an incredibly powerful opioid that is significantly more potent than both morphine and heroin. Fentanyl is a schedule II drug that is commonly prescribed to individuals who suffer from severe pain. It is also prescribed to help manage pain following an intense surgery. In some cases, doctors prescribe it to someone with chronic pain and a tolerance to other opioids.
On the street, fentanyl is known by many names including China Girl, China White, Apache, Dance Fever, Murder 8, TNT, and Goodfella.While most overdoses of fentanyl are believed to be the result of illegally obtaining the drug, it is dangerous and addictive even when prescribed by a doctor. In the current opioid epidemic in the United States – and around the world – synthetic opioids such as fentanyl are considered to be a leading killer.