3 in San Diego indicted in major fentanyl seizure
Bust nets 100 pounds of the drug, marking largest haul in U.S.
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.