DECATUR COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Drug agents seized 11 kilos of the deadly, potent painkiller Fentanyl during a traffic stop on Tuesday.
According to District 24 District Attorney General Matt Stowe it was enough Fentanyl to kill every man, woman and child in West Tennessee.
“Just .3 micrograms is a lethal amount to a human,” he said. “You essentially treat Fentanyl like anthrax – when you are around it and when you are touching it.”
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid used in medical settings to treat chronic pain and is used during major surgery.
On the street, people can overdose within minutes of ingesting small amounts of the drug.
The 24th Judicial District Drug Task Force made the stop on Interstate 40 in Decatur County, arresting two people from Texas.
Both Richardo Ernesto Gomez Jr., 26, and Kristian Lee Torres, 22, are being held in the Decatur County jail. Their exact charges were not immediately known.
Officials said the bust was one of the largest in the state’s history.
“I commend my officers in the 24th Judicial Drug Task Force for their outstanding work today,” states District Attorney Matthew Stowe. “We are very pleased to announce this afternoon’s seizure of a large about of Fentanyl. This is an extremely dangerous drug and to have taken 10 kilos off the street is a victory for our citizens.”
In all, Tuesday’s bust had the potential street value of approximately $13 million.
“That [one] kilo of Fentanyl can produce between 16 and 24 kilos of [other derivative drugs, such as a form of synthetic heroin], ultimately yielding profits of $ 1.3 million after it’s sold on the street,” said DEA spokesman Russ Baer.
Stowe said Interstate 40 is a popular route for drug traffickers.
“There are only two main routes to get drugs from Mexico to the northeast and to the Midwest,” Stowe said. “Both those routes come through Texas and then most come through Tennessee.”
Stowe said the 24th Judicial District Drug Task Force agents are specially trained to spot drivers who could be transporting drugs.
He could not reveal exactly what the agents look for on the interstate.
“They are trained to look at things that make no sense or are meaningless to you and I,” he said.
Stowe said the historic drug bust should send a clear message to drug traffickers.
“The message is if you come here you may check in but you are not going to check out,” he said.
The investigation into the drugs continues and federal charges against the two men arrested are possible.