Men charged with selling fentanyl-laced pills
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.