The Union Democrat
Sonora Police Department touts Halloween fentanyl arrest
Two men were arrested early Oct. 31 in Sonora, one for allegedly possessing suspected fentanyl and drug paraphernalia, and the other on an alleged active felony warrant for committing a felony while on bail, according to a Sonora Police announcement on Friday.
Before 7 a.m. that day, a Monday and Halloween, someone called law enforcement about what they described as suspicious people in a vehicle who appeared to be checking out parked cars in a shopping center in the 1000 block of Mono Way, Sonora Police staff said.
Police responded and questioned four people in a black 1997 Toyota Camry. More questions and a search revealed a person in the car had several individually-packaged quantities of suspected fentanyl and drug paraphernalia.
Joseph Bonnet, 37, of Modesto, was taken into custody on suspicion of possessing a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia.
Jonathan Veldstra, 35, was determined to have an active felony warrant for committing a felony while on bail, and he was arrested on his felony warrant charge.
Sonora Police staff released a photo Friday morning of knotted plastic bags containing blue and yellow rocks to illustrate their account of the arrests.
Fentanyl is a synthetic drug that’s highly addictive, and it can cause respiratory distress and death when taken in
high doses, or when combined with alcohol or other drugs like heroin and cocaine.
Tuolumne County public health officials in early October warned of an alarming rise in drug overdose deaths, including those linked to fentanyl.
There were 19 fatal overdoses in the county this year as of Sept. 30, according to statistics provided by the county Public Health Department. That was up from 15 all last year, nine in 2020, 12 in 2019, and six in 2018.
County Health Officer Dr. Kimberly Freeman said on Friday that she had yet to receive any additional statistics from the Sheriff’s Office on fentanyl or opioid overdose deaths since the Sept. 30 report.
Freeman and law enforcement agencies throughout the nation raised alarm last month ahead of Halloween about so-called “rainbow fentanyl” that appeared similar in appearance to brightly colored candy.
Freeman said on Friday that she knew of one instance of someone who brought a pill of “rainbow fentanyl” into the Mathiesen Memorial Clinic in Jamestown, indicating it had possibly made its way to the county.