Men charged with sell­ing fen­tanyl-laced pills

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - NEWS - By Ja­son Green Bay Area News Group

SAN FRANCISCO >> Fed­eral au­thor­i­ties have charged two East Bay men with sell­ing hun­dreds of coun­ter­feit pills laced with fen­tanyl, a syn­thetic opi­oid that has been linked to mul­ti­ple over­dose deaths.

Jose Ri­cardo Loza, with the help of Randy Lee Walker, sold 50 of the pills to a third party on Aug. 22, when he was work­ing at an auto body shop in Pitts­burg, the U.S. At­tor­ney’s Of­fice said in a news re­lease.

Cit­ing an af­fi­davit that re­mained un­der seal Fri­day, the agency said Loza warned the buyer to be care­ful be­cause he had given the same pills to a friend who over­dosed and died. A lab­o­ra­tory test later con­firmed the pills con­tained fen­tanyl, ac­cord­ing to the agency.

Over­dose deaths in­volv­ing syn­thetic opi­oids other than methadone, which in­cludes fen­tanyl, in­creased al­most 47 per­cent from 2016 to 2017 in the United States, with roughly 28,400 recorded in 2017, ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion.

The U.S. At­tor­ney’s Of­fice said Loza also sold 500 of the pills to an un­der­cover of­fi­cer on Nov. 22 and then told the of­fi­cer he had an­other 10,000 for sale. The af­fi­davit fur­ther al­leged Loza sold 2 ounces of heroin on Sept. 10, ac­cord­ing to the agency.

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