NAVAJO COUNTY — The Navajo County Sheriff’s Office says deputies took approximately 30,000 fentanyl pills off the black market last Friday morning.
Thanks to alert deputies trained in drug interdiction, Antonio Aguilar Lopez, 39, of Mexico, and Estrada Munoz Osvaldo were stopped on Highway 87 south of Winslow.
Inconsistencies in his answers prompted deputies to use a drug sniffing dog named Zolton to check the vehicle. Zolton reportedly alerted on the vehicle.
NCSO Chief Deputy Randy Moffitt said they found an estimated 30,000 fentanyl pills (marked as morphine) in Lopez’s car.
Moffitt said that is an initial count due to the extreme danger of handling fentanyl pills. Moffitt said the opioid pills can be absorbed through the skin, noting as little as 10 granules the size of salt can seriously harm of even kill a person.
He said that is one of the reasons officers have Narcan on hand. It can be used to save the life of an addict who overdoses, but can also be used to save the life of a police officer or a paramedic who inadvertently handles fentanyl.
Moffitt said the pills were packed up and sent to a lab where they can be counted safely.
An approximate street value to 30,00 fentanyl pills is around $900,000. They sell for about $30 per pill on the street.
Moffitt said they found three packages in the car contains about 10,000 pills each.
Lopez is being held in the Navajo County Jail on charges of possession of and transportation of narcotics/dangerous drugs.
“Times have changed,” Moffitt said. “It has changed what we are finding and in how we have to handle dangerous drugs by around 10 fold.”
He said more and more often deputies are coming into contact with illegal dangerous drugs and that he does not foresee a slow down in the near future.