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Police in northern Virginia seized 5,000 pills laced with fentanyl on Wednesday, just days after two teens suspected of taking counterfeit percocets died of fatal overdoses.
The Prince William County Police Department served search warrants at three properties and arrested four people in connection with the operation.
“This is part of law enforcement’s ongoing joint effort to combat the opioid epidemic in the country,” the police department said Wednesday.
Walter Alexander Quintanilla Gomez, 23, and Emerson Giovanni Quintanilla Gomez, 20, were arrested and charged with various drug and firearm offenses.
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Joel Medina, 19, was charged with furnishing a firearm to a minor, while 19-year-old Zion Alexander Ryan was charged with possession with intent to distribute a schedule I/II narcotic.
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is 50-100 times more powerful than morphine. Drug dealers have been increasingly mixing fentanyl with other drugs, such as heroin and counterfeit prescription opioids, to make the product stronger and increase their profits, leading to a surge in overdoses in Virginia and around the country.
Two Prince William County teens died last month in a 48-hour period after taking counterfeit Percocet, commonly referred to as “Perc30.”
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Fatal drug overdoses have more than tripled in Virginia in the past decade, going from 799 in 2012 to 2,656 last year, according to the Virginia Department of Health.
More than 100,000 Americans nationwide died of drug overdoses in the 12-month period ending April 2021, the CDC said in November, a 28.5% increase over the previous 12-month period.