December 13, 2021: Legislators continue to seek permanent scheduling of fentanyl and analogues
Senator Cassidy speaking on the Senate floor, December 8, 2021
U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Richard Burr (R-NC) and U.S. Representatives Bob Latta (R-OH-05) and Morgan Griffith (R-VA-09) introduced the Halt Lethal Trafficking (HALT) Fentanyl Act to permanently classify fentanyl and fentanyl analogues as Schedule I controlled substances while allowing researchers to study them. Scheduling for these drugs is set to expire February 18, 2022.
Other national news
DEA officials in Texas announced that para-fluorofentanyl, a fentanyl analogue that killed a man in Colleyville, Texas in June has been found in counterfeit pills seized in North Texas.
Anthony Dimaiuat of Virginia Beach pleaded guilty to dealing fake Xanax pills on the dark web. Law enforcement found 2,400 grams of white pills made of "designer" benzos in his house in February 2020.
Law enforcement raided two homes in Jackson County, Mississippi, seizing bags of pills and two pill presses.
James Bannister of Bethel, Vermont pleaded guilty for his part in an international drug trafficking conspiracy that illegally imported and sold the opioid painkillers tapentadol and tramadol and carisoprodol, a muscle relaxant, to U.S. buyers. A June 2021 search of Bannister's home yielded over 14,000 controlled substance pills.
Wading River, New York resident Amber Schatz received a 10-year prison sentence for drug trafficking activity. Law enforcement seized over 300 grams of illicit drugs and a pill press when they searched Schatz's home.
Des Moines, Iowa resident Brady Tomlinson pleaded guilty to fraudulently selling vitamin B injections for weight loss without valid prescriptions from 2015 to 2019.
Andrew Householder of Kirtland, Ohio received an 81-month prison sentence for his part in a drug trafficking ring that manufactured counterfeit Adderall pills that contained methamphetamine.
A 23-year-old man in Thief River Falls, Minnesota was charged with third degree murder for allegedly supplying the counterfeit pills made with fentanyl that killed St. Hilaire resident Michaela Rose Constance Cooper on December 2, 2021.
The Kansas City Star published an editorial about Levi Jennings, a 16-year-old Independence, Missouri high school student who died of fentanyl poisoning in October after taking a counterfeit pill.
In Denver, Luis Gerardo Palacios received 14 years in federal prison for narcotics distribution. Palacios acquired 10,000 fentanyl pills from California to distribute in Colorado in January 2020.
Autopsy reports released by the Boulder County, Colorado coroner show that there were 19 fentanyl deaths between February and November 2021. The most recent verified death was in September, when a 29-year-old woman was found dead next to fake oxycodone pills.
The sheriff’s office in El Paso County, Colorado announced the arrest of two people and the seizure of illicit drugs that included 800 pills made with fentanyl.
In Nevada, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested two people and seized a variety of drugs, including fentanyl pills, found in their car during a traffic stop in Reno.
Meanwhile, Reno, Nevada resident Octavio Mendoza received a 34-month sentence for selling hundreds of pills of oxycodone made with fentanyl.
An Idaho Falls couple was charged for allegedly selling fake pills made with fentanyl near an elementary school.
The Albuquerque Journal reported that a mother and grandmother in Carlsbad, New Mexico were charged with child abuse in the September 2021 after the death of their 12-year-old, who had been pilfering fentanyl pills they allegedly sold. This story appeared in a series of articles about fentanyl sales—particularly in pill form— fueling violent crime in the city.
Authorities in Summit County, Utah warned that they had found fentanyl in the area, most commonly in "blue, greenish, or pale colored counterfeit pills" with 'M30,' ‘K9,’ ‘215,’ and ‘v48’ markings, but also in the from of white powder.
Hawaii County Police in Kona have nearly doubled the size of their narcotics unit in response to a spike in fentanyl-related crimes this year. Among these was the arrest in November of a Kona man who was selling pressed pills and illicit narcotics.
Bakersfield, California resident Wilfredo Medina-Perez pleaded guilty to drug charges, admitting that he distributed 442 grams of meth and 13,078 counterfeit oxycodone pills made with fentanyl.
A woman in Port Orchard, Washington was charged with controlled substance homicide. Her 11-year-old daughter died of fentanyl poisoning after allegedly smoking Percocet pills with her mother in May 2021.