3 in San Diego in­dicted in ma­jor fentanyl seizure

Bust nets 100 pounds of the drug, mark­ing largest haul in U.S.

Los Angeles Times - - CITY & STATE - By David Her­nan­dez david.her­nan­dez@sdunion­tri­bune.com Her­nan­dez writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

A fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tion in San Diego has led to dru­gre­lated charges against three peo­ple in what au­thor­i­ties said was one of the largest seizures of fentanyl in the U.S.

Drug En­force­ment Ad­min­is­tra­tion agents seized nearly 100 pounds of the po­tent syn­thetic drug, most of it from a house in Lemon Grove in San Diego County, ac­cord­ing to an in­dict­ment un­sealed this week.

The load rep­re­sents mil­lions of lethal doses, the U.S. at­tor­ney’s of­fice said. Fentanyl is a painkiller that can be up to 50 times stronger than heroin. Au­thor­i­ties say even trace amounts can be fa­tal.

Three peo­ple — Jonathan Ibarra, 45, of Lemon Grove; Hec­tor Fer­nando Gar­cia, 46, of San Diego; and Anna Baker, 30, of Lemon Grove — were in­dicted on charges of pos­ses­sion of fentanyl with the in­tent to dis­trib­ute.

In Novem­ber, the de­fen­dants dis­cussed hav­ing Baker smug­gle the drugs dur­ing three con­sec­u­tive days, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments. Based on that in­for­ma­tion, au­thor­i­ties pulled over a rental ve­hi­cle driven by Baker. Agents seized about 33 pounds of fentanyl.

About 66 pounds of the drug were later found in her home when agents served a search war­rant, the U.S. at­tor­ney’s of­fice said.

The quan­tity of fentanyl seized rep­re­sents the largest amount ever sent to its labs na­tion­wide, the DEA said.

Au­thor­i­ties have said Mex­i­can drug car­tels pro­duce the drug in labs us­ing pre­cur­sor chem­i­cals from China. On the streets, fentanyl is sold alone as a pow­der, added to heroin or made into coun­ter­feit painkiller pills.

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