TWO drug dealers face life in prison after being caught transporting enough fentanyl to kill 26 million people.
Nelson Nicolas Nunez-Acosta, 52, and Felipe Genao Minaya, 47, were stopped by cops in Nebraska, US, while travelling in a tractor-trailer which was holding the industrial quantities of the potentially-lethal painkiller.
Officers found 118 pounds of fentanyl, the drug which infamously killed pop star Prince, inside a hidden compartment in the trailer, according to the feds, reports The New York Post.
The synthetic opioid - which is 40 to 50 times stronger than heroin - is so powerful that just two milligrams can prove deadly.
Reports estimate that the stash seized on April 26 is enough to kill more than 26 million people – more than 10 times Nebraska’s 1.9 million population.
Nunez-Acosta and Minaya, both of Newark, New Jersey, were charged on Wednesday with possessing more than 400 grams of fentanyl with intent to distribute it.
What is fentanyl?
- Fentanyl is a strong opiod painkiller that is used by many patients around the world suffering from chronic conditions.
- It works by stopping pain signals being sent to the nerves in the brain, meaning users do not suffer any discomfort.
- Due to its strength, it is highly controlled by doctors and pharmacists and cannot be prescribed for children.
- It can be administered in patch form or can be injected into the body via a needle or a drip.
- Like most drugs, there is a high risk of overdosing on Fentanyl if you take more than the recommended dose.
- And due to the drug being a powerful opoid, overdosing on it can prove to be fatal.
- Police in cities across the US and Canada are also seeing people become hooked on the drug due to its highly-addictive nature.
- Some even combine the drug with heroin or cocaine to create an even more potent formula, that heightens it effect of feeling relaxed.
The charge is punishable by up to life in prison, court records show.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions praised the troopers responsible for the bust, saying: “I have no doubt that these outstanding law enforcement officers have saved lives.
“And that this case will help us get closer to ending this unprecedented drug epidemic.”
Both defendants were scheduled to appear in federal court in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Friday afternoon.
Fentanyl has been blamed for contributing to the opiod epidemic in the US which killed over 64,000 in 2016 - more than the number of Americans who died in the Vietnam war.
A version of this story originally appeared on The New York Post.