A pair of suspects allegedly carrying 150,000 fentanyl pills, enough to potentially kill several million people, were arrested Friday during a traffic stop in south-central California but have since been released without bail.
Officials said that local police officers discovered 150,000 fentanyl pills in a car during a traffic stop in Central California on Friday. The drug stash is worth an estimated $750,000.
Tulare County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Unit investigators were called at about 7:30 p.m. to the area of Highway 99 and Tulare Avenue in Tulare to help California Highway Patrol officers with the stop, according to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office.
Detectives said 150 packages containing 1,000 fentanyl pills were hidden inside their vehicle.
The suspects were identified as 25-year-old Jose Zendejas and 19-year-old Benito Madrigal, both of Washington state. No details were immediately available about where the men obtained the drugs or where they were heading.
Zendejas and Madrigal were arrested on charges of possession, transportation, and sales of illegal drugs. They were booked at the Tulare County Pre-Trial Facility.
According to a Facebook post, the Tulare County Sheriff announced the two suspects had been released without bail by court order.
“All inmates booked into Tulare County jails are sent through what is known as the Risk Assessment Process through the Tulare County Probation Department. That “Risk Assessment” is then sent to a judge with the court, who, then, determines whether or not the individual arrested is held on bail or if they are to be released.”
The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office said they have “received a court order releasing both suspects from custody on their own recognizance.”
The department noted that Sheriff Boudreaux “strongly disagrees with the release of these individuals as a matter of public safety, the court order release must be followed.”
Once again, California’s soft-on-crime approach has released criminals without any consequence. In this instance, individuals tied to one of the most deadly drug epidemics in the nation have been released and are back on the streets.
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).