Southern California fentanyl seizure nets enough drugs to make millions of deadly doses, officials say

Authorities in Southern California's Orange County last week seized roughly $1.25 million worth of the synthetic opioid fentanyl, a quantity large enough to create four million deadly doses, according to the sheriff’s office.

Wednesday’s seizure yielded nearly half the amount that investigators seized in Orange County in all of 2018, a news release said.

Investigators arrested 60-year-old Rudolph Garcia on multiple drug charges while serving a search warrant, sheriff’s spokeswoman Carrie Brain told the Orange County Register.

They also found a semi-automatic handgun, heroin, methamphetamine and $71,000 in cash, according to the sheriff’s department.

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Fentanyl seizures in 2019 could increase by more than double for the third year in a row, investigators said.

"The threat this extremely potent drug poses to our community is increasing exponentially, not subsiding," Sheriff Don Barnes said.

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Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin, health officials have said.

In the last decade, it has become a public health crisis. Between 2015 and 2018, damage from the drug cost at least $631 billion – which is more than the gross domestic products of Belgium, Sweden and Taiwan, according to an analysis by the Society of Actuaries (SOA).