Two California men arrested with enough fentanyl to kill 4.7 million

Last month’s haul last was biggest in 16 years, attorney’s office said

California deputy trainee nearly dies after being exposed to fentanyl

Two men have been arrested in Orange County, California after they were allegedly found with enough fentanyl to kill 4.7m people.

Edgar Alfonso Lamas, 36, and Carlos Raygozaparedes, 53, were arrested when officers from the Buena Park Police Department allegedly recovered a haul of illegal substances in their minivan on March 17.

The city of Bunea Park is some 12 miles from San Ana, the county seat of Orange County.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said both men have been charged on multiple counts, in what is the biggest drugs find in 16 years.

Police allegedly found enough fentanyl to kill 4.7m people. Images released by the office showed the alleged substances in sealed bags and containers.

According to the statement, the haul included 821 pounds of meth, 189.7 pounds of cocaine and 20.5 pounds of fentanyl pills. The drug is a powerful opioid and sold illegally for recreational drug use, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths in the US a year. A lethal dose can come from as little as 2mg.

“Millions of unsuspecting people have the grim reaper looking over their shoulder and they have no idea how close they actually are to dying from taking a single pill,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer in a statement.

“Fentanyl is cheap, it’s easy to get and it is killing our children, our coworkers, and tens of thousands of innocent Americans who don’t have to die. Drug dealers don’t care about you or your loved ones – they only care about their bottom line and making as much money as possible.”

Mr Spitzer added: “With fentanyl in an estimated 40 per cent of street drugs, it’s not a matter of if but when someone you know and love dies from fentanyl. We have to continue to do everything we can to combat this deadly drug epidemic and save lives.”

Mr Lamas and Mr Raygozaparedes were charged for the possession, sale and transportation of controlled substances and could face up to 37 years in prison if convicted. They have pleaded not guilty.

Both men remain in custody on $5m bail. They will appear in court again on June 7.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fentanyl was responsible for more than overdose 100,000 deaths in the US between 2020 and 2021, with use of the drug spiking during the pandemic.

Orange County authorities issued a warning regarding fentanyl on Wednesday and said: “[We are] warning every convicted drug dealer and distributor of the dangers of drugs – especially fentanyl – and advising them that if their drug activities result is someone’s death they can be charged with murder.

“Every law enforcement agency in Orange County has also committed to providing a controlled substance advisement at the time of arrest to warn drug dealers and manufacturers of the deadly consequences of their criminal activities.”

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