Nebraska State Patrol troopers recently made the largest drug bust in state history during a traffic stop in April, according to National Public Radio. It is also one of the biggest seizures in the entire U.S. What troopers thought was cocaine has turned out to be pure fentanyl—118 pounds of it. That amount of fentanyl is lethal enough to kill over 26 million people and is being linked to overdose deaths nationwide. The synthetic opioid is estimated to be between 50 and 100 times more powerful than morphine, and between 30 and 50 times stronger than heroin.

Troopers became suspicious upon seeing a tractor-trailer being driven along the shoulder of Interstate 80 near the town of Kearney and pulled the driver over. The driver and passenger were arrested for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and no Drug Tax stamp.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials report seizures of the drug in 2017 were double the amount taken the previous year, and the agency is on track in 2018 to double last year’s total of 951 pounds seized. The largest source countries are China and Mexico, with China and other nations sending the drug through the U.S. Postal Service. Although the drug is legal as prescribed for pain relief, it offers a high profit margin to manufacturers, which is why it continues to grow in popularity.

For anyone facing charges of drug possession, the future looks scary, especially for felony charges like the defendants in this article face. If you or someone you know has been charged with possession, there are a variety of defenses that may apply, which you can discuss with an attorney.

This information is general in nature and is not intended as legal advice.