Riverside Authorities Seize Thousands of Fentanyl Pills
Recently, Riverside County law enforcement has been cracking down on fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is cheaper than other narcotics but highly addictive and dangerous. After three separate investigations over the past few weeks, the Riverside County Gang Impact Team has seized thousands of grams of fentanyl. This contains approximately 40,000 pills with fentanyl, five kilograms of powdered fentanyl, and three firearms. Through their investigations, officials have estimated the seized fentanyl to be over $1.5 million in value. The suspects in possession of these drugs have thus far not been identified. However, these investigations will continue as part of a larger effort by law enforcement to stop the flow of fentanyl in Riverside County.
Why Is Fentanyl So Dangerous?
According to officials, hundreds of people in Riverside County die every year from fentanyl overdose. In fact, a dose of just two milligrams can be fatal. This is because the drug is up to 100 times more potent than other narcotics and can be mixed into any number of pills. Victims often believe that they are purchasing illegal Oxycodone or Percocet, but the pills contain fentanyl instead. Fentanyl is manufactured overseas in labs and then smuggled across the Mexico border into the United States by drug cartels.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, fentanyl poisoning accounted for over 80,000 of the 108,000 fatal drug overdoses in 2021. In Riverside County alone, there were about 500 deaths caused by fentanyl poisoning in 2021. This is a drastic increase from 2016, when only two fentanyl-induced fatalities were reported. Because fentanyl has such dangerous effects, the penalties for possession or sale of the drug are harsh. Continue reading to find out what consequences you may face if you are charged with a crime involving fentanyl.
Penalties for Fentanyl Crimes
Under the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act, controlled substances are classified into 5 categories, with the greatest restrictions placed on the substances that have been classified as the most dangerous Schedule I drugs. Fentanyl is considered a Schedule II drug, which existing law prohibits from possessing or purchasing for sale.
California Health and Safety Code Section 11350 makes it illegal to possess a host of drugs, including fentanyl, in the state. Most cases of fentanyl possession are prosecuted as a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail. The court may also order you to complete a drug diversion program in lieu of incarceration. However, depending on whether you have a criminal history already, the prosecution may also choose to charge you with a felony, which comes with up to four years in jail.
In addition, the penalties for fentanyl possession increase if you are found with large amounts of the drug, as this indicates to law enforcement that you were possessing fentanyl with the intent to sell it. Under California Health and Safety Code Section 11351, a violation of this section carries a jail term of two, three, or four years. Drug diversion programs are not an alternative to incarceration in these cases since possession with an intent to sell does not indicate personal drug use.
Recently, California legislatures have been looking towards increased penalties for fentanyl trafficking. If these bills pass, we could be looking at even harsher consequences for fentanyl-related crimes.
Contact Wallin & Klarich Today
California has strict laws regarding controlled substances, especially fentanyl. If you are arrested for possessing or selling a controlled substance, contact Wallin & Klarich as soon as possible to see how we can help. With 40+ years of experience, Wallin & Klarich is your best choice amongst Southern California criminal defense firms. Our attorneys have helped thousands of clients defend against drug-related charges, and we have the skills and resources to help you avoid hefty fines and jail sentences.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Torrance, West Covina, Los Angeles, and San Diego, you are sure to find an available and convenient attorney near you.
Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.