According to the Point Pleasant Patch, what began as an investigation by the Montville, New Jersey Police Department on November 5, 2018 into the theft of a commercial box truck ended with the arrest of a couple and a massive seizure of drugs, including 27 pounds of fake pills. New Jersey State Police stated that the arrest of Juan Rodriguez and Beatrice Sepulveda shut down a narcotics processing lab.
After the stolen vehicle report was filed, detectives with the Auto Theft Task Force located it parked on a street. The detectives determined that Rodriguez and Sepulveda, who lived on that block, were in possession of the truck. The police received a search warrant the following day. Inside the couple’s residence, in addition to the 27 pounds of pills made of fentanyl police seized 2 kilograms of powdered fentanyl, 1 kilogram of bath salts, 1 ounce of heroin, 50 bricks of heroin, and drug production and packaging materials.
New Jersey State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said, “Lives were undoubtedly saved as a result of this huge seizure of fentanyl pills and powder. Far too many people are dying in New Jersey from overdoses of fentanyl, as drug dealers recklessly mix this super-potent opioid with heroin or substitute it for heroin or oxycodone.”
Col. Patrick Callahan of the New Jersey State Police noted that “The amount of fentanyl seized alone as a result of this investigation had the potential to kill hundreds of thousands of people, including police officers, first responders or unsuspecting children. We will continue to work with our partners to aggressively pursue those who seek to flood out street with deadly narcotics.” On November 13, 2018, Essex County Correctional Facility released Rodriguez and Sepulveda after their bail detention hearing. The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office will try this case.
This incident is not the first time counterfeit fentanyl pills have been found in New Jersey. To read about other times when counterfeit medicines have been found in the Garden State – including fake cancer medications, Botox, and fentanyl – please read PSM’s 2018 New Jersey Infosheet.