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Drug bust: 3 arrested in San Francisco for illegally producing and selling fentanyl

Published On: 06-30-2016 in Category: addiction


Three people were arrested recently for illegally manufacturing and selling deadly drug fentanyl in Sunset District, San Francisco. The police arrested Kia Zolfaghari, 39, and his wife Candelaria Dagandan Vasquez, 38, for illegally operating a fentanyl-manufacturing unit out of their Sunset District apartment on 44th Avenue, San Francisco. The third accused – King Edward Harris II, 34, of Oxnard – helped them in the illegal operation.

According to police, the trio were manufacturing fentanyl-laced pills in the house and would illegally sell them online as oxycodone. Vazquez delivered the counterfeit pill packages for mailing, obtained all the packaging supplies and dealt with payments through her bank account.

Trio arrested in undercover operation

The couple and Harris were arrested in an undercover sting operation in June 2016. According to the U.S. attorney’s office, Zolfaghari made around six transactions with a confidential source, who posed as a potential buyer but was working with the law enforcement agency. He bought more than 1,500 fentanyl-laced pills from the accused. Harris, on the other hand, acted as a broker for these narcotic sales, made a series of phone calls with the confidential source to crack the deal, and hand-delivered two of those purchases.

The defendants will face a maximum sentence of around 20 years, if convicted.  They will also have to pay a fine of $1,000,000 or double of what they have gained or lost following their illegal dealings, for each violation that they made.

The arrests were a result of a seven-month-long investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Homeland Security Investigations, the Internal Revenue Service, the United States Postal Service, and Customs and Border Protection, in cooperation with the San Francisco Police Department and San Francisco Fire Department.

United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch said that the three are being charged with manufacturing a controlled substance.

Fentanyl is a deadly drug

Fentanyl is a Schedule II controlled substance that is 50-100 times more potent than morphine and 30-50 times more potent than heroin. The U.S. Department of Justice said that this highly potent opioid can be diluted with other agents to create counterfeit pills. It can mimic the effects of oxycodone and can be bought at a price lower than genuine oxycodone. Even a dose of fentanyl as little as 0.25 mg can be fatal for the user and consumption of fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills may increase the risks of overdose.

In fact, fentanyl-laced counterfeit drugs have become a big concern in the U.S. Fentanyl overdoses in San Francisco led to two deaths in October 2015. As per reports, counterfeit Xanax tablets, laced with fentanyl, led to the overdoses and deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 5,500 deaths involving synthetic overdoses in 2014 and many of these overdoses were caused by illicit fentanyl. According to reports, 14 people in Sacramento overdosed and died after taking fake prescription painkillers in April 2016.

Treating addiction important for attaining sober life

With deadlier drugs like fentanyl becoming easily accessible on the U.S. streets, it is imperative to be vigilant while treating people addicted to such drugs. One has to be careful while using fentanyl for treating pain because the patient doesn’t even realize when the use turns into a misuse and then an abuse.

If you or your loved one is battling drug addiction, contact the San Francisco Drug Treatment and Rehab Center for the best de-addiction program to find a sober you. You may chat online with our representatives or call at our 24/7 helpline number 415-366-6922 for more information.

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