In what’s being described as the largest Orange County drug bust in 16 years, two Buena Park residents were arrested last month after authorities recovered “enough fentanyl to kill 4.7 million people,” authorities announced Wednesday.
About 821 pounds of methamphetamine, 190 pounds of cocaine and 21 pounds of fentanyl pills were recovered after Buena Park police pulled over a minivan leaving a home on March 17, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Authorities did not elaborate on how they calculated the number of people who would die from the amount of fentanyl seized.
Edgar Alfonso Lamas, 36, and Carlos Raygozaparedes, 53, were arrested and have been charged with one felony count of possession of sale of a controlled substance, three felony counts of sale or transportation for sale of a controlled substance, and two felony counts of possession of sale of a controlled substance, officials said.
The men, described as drug dealers, were also charged with two felony enhancements that the controlled substances exceeded 80 kilograms by weight, and two felony enhancements that the controlled substances exceeded 20 kilograms by weight or 400 liters by liquid volume.
The men pleaded not guilty to the charges and remain in custody on $5 million bail.
A preliminary hearing is set for June 7, and they each face more than 37 years in prison if convicted on all charges.
Late last year, District Attorney Todd Spitzer warned convicted drug dealers and distributors of the dangers of drugs and indicated that if their activities lead to a death they can be charged with murder.
“Millions of unsuspecting people have the grim reaper looking over their shoulder and they have no idea how close they actually are to dying from taking a single pill,” Spitzer said in a news release. “Drug dealers don’t care about you or your loved ones – they only care about their bottom line and making as much money as possible. With fentanyl in an estimated 40 percent of street drugs, it’s not a matter of if but when someone you know and love dies from fentanyl. We have to continue to do everything we can to combat this deadly drug epidemic and save lives.”