The Colorado State Patrol (CSP) seized its largest haul of the year so far — 114 pounds of pure fentanyl from a cartel drug mule on a highway on June 20.
Authorities said that amount of the synthetic opioid is enough to kill 25 million people.
An official with the agency told Fox News that troopers discovered the drugs after stopping a car headed toward Denver on Interstate 70 near Georgetown. They did not give a reason for the traffic stop.
After a search of the vehicle, officers discovered the fentanyl powder through a trap door under the driver’s and passenger seats. The powder was neatly packaged into 48 1-kilo bricks.
Captain Bill Barkley, head of CSP’s Smuggling, Trafficking and Interdiction Unit (STIS), kept the identity of the driver anonymous to protect him from Mexican cartels who could hurt his family.
Barkley noted that the priority of narcotics dealers is money rather than safety.
“They don’t care about anything but making money,” he said.
Barkley added that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is also involved and helping the CSP investigate the case.
Over the past five months, police have seized a total of 137 pounds of the opioid, an amount that has the potential kill up to 31 million people — five times more than the population of Colorado.
Fentanyl traffic continues to be a problem in the state. According to STIS, fentanyl on the streets has increased by 390% over the past year, mostly in the form of pills called “blues.”
The Gazette reported that “blues” have replaced heroin as the most popular opioid on the black market and that 90% of the drugs in the U.S. are smuggled from Mexico by cartels on highways, small planes and trains, and are often stashed in hidden compartments within the vehicles to avoid detection.
“It’s a continued cat-and-mouse game between law enforcement and cartels. They actually hire people to engineer trap compartments,” Barkley said. “Whether or not it’s on I-70 or on I-25, or it’s on secondary highways coming into our state, I would bet every hour of every day there is something.”