Record US fentanyl bust ‘enough to kill 26 million people’

Nebraska state troopers announced that they seized 118 pounds of fentanyl last month. MUST CREDIT Nebraska State Patrol

Nebraska state troopers announced that they seized 118 pounds of fentanyl last month. MUST CREDIT Nebraska State Patrol

Police in Nebraska, USA, have seized 118lbs of pure fentanyl, making it one of the largest seizures in the country's history - enough to kill more than 26 million people, according to government estimates.

The driver, identified by authorities as 46-year-old Felipe Genao-Minaya, appeared nervous and was "shaking visibly in the truck", according the court records.

The semi was driving near the shoulder, and when stopped, "the trooper became suspicious of criminal activity".

Troopers searched the vehicle and discovered a false compartment located in the empty trailer.

At first, troopers believed they had found mostly cocaine but further testing showed it was all fentanyl.

Hazardous substance found hidden in the truck.

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Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Gov. Pete Ricketts honored the agency and specific troopers in a ceremony at the State Capitol on Thursday for seizing more than 1,850 pounds of marijuana in April and a record-breaking 118 pounds of fentanyl that same month.

Like heroin and other opioids, fentanyl causes drowsiness, nausea and confusion, and overdoses can result in respiratory failure and death.

Col. John Bolduc called it "the largest single bust of fentanyl in Nebraska history and one of the largest busts in the country".

Do the math - as both the Kansas City Star and USA TODAY have done - and you'll find the Nebraska bust included enough fentanyl to kill 26,760,000 people. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that fentanyl, and variants of it, killed more than 20,000 Americans past year - a number which is still on the rise. "Out of a total of 5,152 opioid overdose deaths, nearly 3,000 tested positive for fentanyl, and over 700 tested positive for drugs that have similar chemical structures to fentanyl", the CDC said in October. Both men have since been charged in connection to the crime, according the Buffalo County Attorney's office.

Matthew Barden of the Drug Enforcement Administration said that since October various law enforcement agencies in the state have taken 275 to 300 pounds of fentanyl off the streets.

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