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Virginia County State Police recover opioid more ‘powerful and deadly than fentanyl’

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According to a local report, Virginia State Police say they have recovered a synthetic opioid “even more powerful and deadly than fentanyl.”

Protonitazene “is a new synthetic opioid that is around three times more powerful than fentanyl – which is already 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine” reports Fox News.

While “Opioid prescriptions have fallen about 40% in the last decade amid restrictions by hospitals, insurers and state officials,” the “deaths tied to the medications remain at 13,000 to 14,000 per year. And studies suggest people who become addicted to opioids continue to start with prescription opioids, before switching to cheaper heroin and illegally-made fentanyl” adds Fox News.

In December, the Center for Forensic Science Research & Education warned that “nitazenes” were gaining traction across the United States and Canada. Dr. Kimberly Lane, a chemistry professor at Radford University, explained the deadly drug to WFXR-TV: protonitazene binds tighter to receptors in the brain, making it more potent. She said the drug has started to become a concern in just the last few months.

“Because it’s a fairly new drug, they’re still looking at how it binds and what that might look like,” Lane said. Narcan is a life saving drug administered to individuals as they experience an overdose in order to reverse the drug’s affects.

“A single nasal spray is usually sufficient to help someone experiencing an overdose caused by fentanyl. However, someone may need two to three times that in order to treat a protonitazene overdose” Fox News adds. “Last year, U.S. overdose deaths soared to a record of 107,000 driven overwhelmingly by fentanyl and other illegal opioids.”

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Immigration

$18 million dollars’ worth of methamphetamine hidden within a shipment of squash

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the Otay Mesa Commercial Facility discovered $18 million dollars’ worth of methamphetamine hidden within a shipment of squash.

Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) revealed in a press release on Monday, at approximately 6:47 a.m.,that CBP officers encountered a 44-year-old male driving a commercial tractor-trailer with a shipment manifested for squash. The driver, a valid border crossing card holder, was referred for further examination by CBP officers along with the tractor-trailer and shipment.

Non-intrusive scanning technology was utilized to conduct a full scan of the tractor trailer which showed irregularities and CBP officers requested a CBP human and narcotics detection canine. The canine team responded and alerted officers to the presence of narcotics.

A total of 1,419 packages concealed within the shipment of squash was discovered and extracted. The narcotics were tested and identified as methamphetamine with a total weight of 11,469 pounds with an estimated street value of $18,350,400.

“Our officers’ commitment to duty, excellence, and the safety of our nation is truly commendable. These results serve as an outstanding display of effectiveness in thwarting the illegal importation of narcotics,” stated Rosa E. Hernandez, Otay Mesa Area Port Director. “Their exceptional efforts truly embody the highest standards of service.”

The seizures are part of Operation Apollo, a holistic counter-fentanyl effort that began on October 26, 2023 in southern California, and expanded to Arizona on April 10, 2024, the CBP release reveals. Operation Apollo focuses on intelligence collection and partnerships, and utilizes local CBP field assets augmented by federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial partners to boost resources, increase collaboration, and target the smuggling of fentanyl into the United States.

The CDC states that more than 150 people die every day from drug overdoses related to synthetic opioids derived from fentanyl.

 

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