California man had enough fentanyl ‘to kill 12 million people,’ DA says

SANTA ANA, Calif. — Officials in California arrested a man on Wednesday whom they claimed possessed enough fentanyl to kill 12 million people, authorities said.

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Alfonso Gomez-Santana, 60, of Fullerton, was arrested and charged with one felony count of sale or transport of a controlled substance and two felony counts of possession of sale with intent to sell, according to a news release from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. He faces a maximum sentence of 80 months in the Orange County Jail if convicted on all counts.

California Highway Patrol officers found four kilos of fentanyl in Gomez-Santana’s vehicle during a traffic stop in Fullerton, KTLA-TV reported. A search of the man’s home led to the discovery of 20 more kilos of fentanyl, $250,000 in fentanyl pills and 122 grams of methamphetamine, according to the television station.

The district attorney’s office said it takes about 2 milligrams of fentanyl to comprise a lethal dose, KABC-TV reported.

“It is unconscionable that someone who has the ability to kill 12 million people is facing just a handful of years in jail,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement. “Fentanyl is a national epidemic that killed more than 100,000 Americans last year and it’s not going to stop unless we have the tools as prosecutors to hold these drug dealers and drug manufacturers accountable for peddling death.”

Gomez-Santana pleaded not guilty to the charges during an arraignment on Friday, according to The Orange County Register.

Spitzer has suggested tougher penalties for people involved in creating and selling fentanyl, according to the newspaper. Last year, Spitzer and Mike Hestrin, the district attorney in Riverside County, announced new policies targeting dealers who sell fentanyl-laced drugs, the Register reported. The prosecutors called for dealers to face second-degree murder charges if they are involved in a drug sale that results in a death.

In May, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office designated a prosecutor to have powers to pursue fentanyl cases federally to maximize sentences for drug dealers, KABC reported.

“Every parent in America should be petrified that one day they are going to walk into their child’s bedroom and find them dead because their child thought they were experimenting with recreational drugs and instead drug dealers sold them a deadly dose of fentanyl,” Spitzer said in his statement. “This is not fear-mongering; this is reality -- and if we don’t start strengthening penalties for drug dealers it’s going to be the reality for you or someone you love.”