(Denver, CO) - A drug bust that made national headlines over the summer has a closer tie to this area than originally reported.
On June 18, Colorado State Police discovered 114 pounds of fentanyl during a traffic stop west of Denver. Authorities said it was the largest amount of fentanyl seized on a U.S. highway, and recently they revealed that the massive shipment was destined for the South Bend area.
Details were withheld at the time because the driver, 27-year-old David Maldonado, had agreed to help federal agents arrest the local drug dealers. However, as first reported in the Denver Gazette, Maldonado gave DEA agents the slip. He apparently removed the tracker placed on his car and is now a fugitive.
Maldonado told authorities he had made at least one other sizable delivery of fentanyl from California to South Bend. Local police are now assisting federal agents in the case.
According to the DEA, the amount of fentanyl seized was enough to kill more than 25 million people. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is about 50 times more potent than heroin. Coroners in St. Joseph and La Porte Counties say that deaths from synthetic opioid overdose continue to rise.