Nebraska authorities seized 118 pounds of fentanyl – a highly addictive opiate – during a routine truck stop last month. Nebraska State Patrol said Thursday that the seizure was the largest in the state’s history, and “one of the largest ever in the U.S.”
The quantity was enough to kill more than 26 million people, the Kansas City Star reported.
A state trooper had observed a suspicious semi the morning of April 26 in Kearney, about 200 miles west of Omaha.
Authorities searched the truck and found a “false compartment” containing “42 foil-wrapped packages containing 73 pounds of cocaine and 44 pounds of unknown powder suspected to be fentanyl, a news release said.
The troopers waited to test the powder in a lab, due to the dangerous nature of the substance.
Fentanyl is a highly addictive opioid that is “30-50 times more potent than heroin and 50-100 times more potent than morphine,” according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Authorities identified Felipe Genao-Minaya, 46, as the alleged driver of the truck and Nelson Nunez, 52, as the passenger. Both men were reportedly from New Jersey.
The men were arrested for “possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and no Drug Tax stamp,” and booked into the Buffalo County Jail, the news release said.
Fentanyl-related deaths have surged in the United States in recent years. California recorded 746 fatal overdoses from fentanyl in 2017 versus 237 in 2016, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.