Washington men busted in California with 150,000 fentanyl pills during traffic stop

Jose Zendejas, 25, and Benito Madrigal, 19, were arrested on drug charges in Tulare County, California

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A pair of suspects allegedly hauling 150,000 fentanyl pills – enough to potentially kill several million people – were busted Friday during a traffic stop in south-central California.

The traffic stop happened just before 7:30 p.m. near Highway 99 near Tulare, the Tulare County Sheriff's Office said.

Detectives said 150 packages, each containing 1,000 fentanyl pills, were hidden inside their vehicle. The total street value of the drugs was estimated to be $750,000, according to the sheriff’s office.

The suspects were identified as 25-year-old Jose Zendejas and 19-year-old Benito Madrigal, both of Washington. No details were immediately available about where the men obtained the drugs or where they were heading.

FENTANYL DEATHS OF AMERICA'S YOUNG PEOPLE: ‘EMINENT THREAT TO OUR SOCIETY’

Zenejas and Madrigal were both arrested on charges of possession, transportation and sales of illegal drugs. They were booked at the Tulare County Pre-Trial Facility.

Jose Zendejas, 25, and 19-year-old Benito Madrigal were discovered with 150 packages that each contained 1,000 fentanyl pills  during a traffic stop in Tulare County, California on Friday, authorities said.

Jose Zendejas, 25, and 19-year-old Benito Madrigal were discovered with 150 packages that each contained 1,000 fentanyl pills  during a traffic stop in Tulare County, California on Friday, authorities said. (Tulare County Sheriff's Office)

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that "is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin as an analgesic," according to the Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

The total street value of the 150,000 pills was estimated to be $750,000, according to the sheriff’s office.

The total street value of the 150,000 pills was estimated to be $750,000, according to the sheriff’s office. (Tulare County Sheriff's Office)

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics estimates there were 107,622 drug overdose deaths in 2021, with 71,238 of those deaths related to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.

Tulare is located about three hours north of Los Angeles.