A drug bust in western Kansas along Interstate I-70 resulted in 22 pounds of fentanyl being confiscated. That amount of the drug is enough for nearly 5 million fatal doses and is worth about $200 million.
Criminal charges were filed in the U.S. District Court in Wichita on Tuesday after the January 19 drug bust in Trego County.
Kamryne Jahni Wright, 19, and Gleneice Lashawn Phillips, 24, were charged with possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and intent to distribute methamphetamine.
When a state trooper pulled over a black 2015 Dodge Ram van on I-70, it was because he noticed the driver wasn’t wearing a seat belt. He decided to search the vehicle after smelling marijuana.
He found marijuana in the center console and then found 10 bundles wrapped in blue packaging, 10 additional bundles wrapped in clear packaging and another four wrapped in gray tape.
The Kansas Bureau of Investigation did forensic testing on the bundles. They found that they contained 22 pounds of fentanyl, 36 pounds of meth and the grey packages contained a cutting agent.
Police arrested both women in the vehicle and booked them into the Trego County jail. There they wait in lieu of $500,000 bonds. They admitted during an interrogation that they were taking the drugs to Dayton, Ohio after picking up the substances in California.
The Department of Justice estimates that 1 million counterfeit pills can come from 1 kilogram of fentanyl. This can sell for more than $20 million. Those 22 pounds could create nearly 10 million pills.
Kansas has a population of about 2.9 million people. Two milligrams of fentanyl is a lethal dose for most people.
Last month, police in Wichita investigated a rash of overdose deaths involving fentanyl-laced oxycodone. These included a 19-year-old who took just one pill, in addition to a 27-year-old man, a 23-year-old man, and a 16-year old boy.
In February, WPD Captain Jeff Allen said, “We suspect that a new batch of this has hit Wichita. We fear we are going to have more of these.”
Wichita was also home to one of the first domestically-produced illicit-fentanyl cases in the United States. One brand, in particular, dubbed “Tango and Cash,” is believed to have caused 126 deaths.
Hopefully, Kansas has some of the best drug rehab centers to handle the influx.