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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

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More than 30 pounds of fentanyl were seized last year, CHPD says


By Mike Hazlip—
Citrus Heights Police Chief Alex Turcotte last month reported the seizure of “enough fentanyl to kill everybody in the county” in 2022, with police releasing additional details in an email to The Sentinel this week.

In his annual address to the City Council last month, Turcotte said investigators had seized 31 pounds of fentanyl moving through the postal system.

Citrus Heights Police Lt. Wesley Herman on Thursday said in response to a followup inquiry that the seizure reported was a cumulative total for a six-month period, including multiple investigations in cooperation with the U.S. Postal Service Inspection Services (USPIS). Herman called the investigation “outstanding work” and praised “one of our detectives and her team on the (USPIS).”

Using the postal service to traffic illegal narcotics is a common tactic for drug dealers, Herman said. Some packages originated in Citrus Heights while others were mailed to locations in the city.

“Because fentanyl is extremely dangerous and often fatal to users, we take crimes like this very seriously when it comes to protecting our community,” Herman said.

The department is currently working on an educational program to address the alarming trend in fentanyl and opioid overdoses, according to Herman. Funding for the program comes from a national class-action lawsuit settlement, he said.

“This epidemic has negatively impacted the lives of far too many community members as well as law enforcement agencies struggling to keep up with the volume of deaths and overdoses occurring,” Herman said. “We’re hopeful that with additional awareness, education and an increased focus on those supplying it, we will be better able to address this nationwide crisis.”

Four large U.S. corporations settled the suit with a number of local government agencies, NPR’s CapRadio said in a Feb. 2022 report. The companies agreed to pay $26 billion to settle the claims in what CapRadio called a “tsunami of lawsuits.”

Turcotte said in his report last month that police also worked with the U.S. Postal Service to locate and seize 232 pounds of marijuana and over 13 pounds of methamphetamine.

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