Man brought enough fentanyl to kill 5 million people into U.S., cops say
CAMDEN — A Camden man charged with bringing enough fentanyl into the country to kill five million people has been indicted following an investigation that stretched from New Jersey to China.
Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced the indictment of 23-year-old Yahmire Boardley after, he said, authorities made a "record-setting' seizure of 31 pounds of the drug, which is dozens of times more lethal than heroin. Porrino said users can die from a dose of just two or three milligrams, and Boardley had around 31 kilograms.
Boardley was arrested in March after an investigation by the new Jersey State Police Trafficking South Unit and ICE Homeland Security Investigations Cherry Hill Office found the drug was being shipped to multiple addresses in the city, Porrino said. After search warrants were issued and the drugs were found Boardley was arrested at his home, Porrino said.
"These 14 kilos of fentanyl could have yielded upward of 5 million lethal doses, enough to kill more than half the population of New Jersey," Porrino said. "Given the deadly and devious ways dealers profit from this super-potent opioid, there's no telling the many lives that were actually saved by this seizure."
Porrino reported there were 417 fentanyl-related overdose deaths in 2015, and that there were 394 fentanyl related deaths in the first half of 2016 alone.
"We know that even minute quantities of fentanyl can be lethal and, in this case, we seized bricks weighing over 30 pounds," Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice said. "The unprecedented size of this shipment of a deadly opioid speaks volumes about the scope of the addiction and overdose epidemic, which we will continue to attack on all fronts."
As fentanyl has become more of a problem across the country first responders have gotten sick just by coming in contact with overdose victims or during arrest situations. To prevent problems during this incident Porrino said the State Police Hazardous Materials Response Unit was called in to address any exposure issues.
"By removing more than five million potentially lethal doses of fentanyl from the streets, we not only saved the lives of users, but we may very well have saved the life of a police officer, first responder, or police K-9 who may have unintentionally come into contact with this lethal narcotic," Col. Rick Fuentes of the New Jersey State Police said.
Fentanyl is not usually taken on its own, but has been seen mixed with heroin and cocaine. It is also made into a powder or pills disguised as heroin, oxycodone, or Xanax, according to Porrino.
Boardley was indicted on charges of second-degree possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute and third-degree possession of fentanyl. The second-degree charge carries a sentence of five to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000. The third-degree charge carries a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
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