Authorities identify suspect arrested in fentanyl bust - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Authorities identify suspect arrested in fentanyl bust

Photo Courtesy: Nebraska State Patrol Photo Courtesy: Nebraska State Patrol
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -


27-year-old Edgar Navarro-Aguirre of California was arrested in an interdiction operation in Omaha, Nebraska.

This is after 15 kilos of fentanyl, or about 33 pounds, was being hauled from California to New York and New Jersey.

The street value was $15-million. 

"Fentanyl is incredibly lethal, incredibly dangerous," said Rob Stuart, acting United States Attorney for the district of Nebraska. "It is a public health hazard of the highest degree."

Thursday, the Drug Enforcement Administration and Nebraska State Patrol offered details of the bust.

"They came in contact with an individual at the Amtrak station on the train who had a piece of luggage that he claimed was his," said Stuart. "He gave consent to search. And, in that they found this fentanyl in a number of different packages."

So what exactly is the drug?

The Sioux City-based medical director for the Iowa Poison Control Center says it's often prescribed to patients for pain.

"Fentanyl is an opioid pain medication that's typically used for people who are having ongoing, usually moderate to severe pain or people who are going to be having surgery," said Dr. Edward Bottei.

He says fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine, and 50 times more potent than heroin. 

And, it's most dangerous in powder form, which is not how it would be provided by a physician.

"They can be so potent that if somebody makes contact with a pure form of the powder, there is concern that they could have bad affects from it," said Bottei. "It may be that they get drowsy. If bad enough, they could stop breathing."

Sioux City Police say it's not a problem they've identified in the area yet. 

But, Dr. Bottei says fortunately there has been a lot of education among first-responders and law enforcement so they know what to do when coming in contact with the powder.

Navarro-Aguirre was charged Thursday in federal district court.

He was charged with knowingly and intentionally possessing with the intent to distribute 400 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of fentanyl 

The penalty is ten years to life in prison. 

Navarro-Aguirre will appear in court Friday.

Previous Story:

Authorities have identified the man arrested Wednesday in a major fentanyl drug bust as Edgar Navarro-Aguirre. He is scheduled for an initial appearance in federal court on Friday afternoon.

The 27-year-old California man was arrested in an interdiction operation.

Investigators say they seized more than 15 kilos of fentanyl - the largest such seizure ever in Nebraska and one of the largest in the nation.

Fentanyl is an opioid drug vastly more potent than heroin. 

Authorities say the drugs seized Wednesday were being hauled from California to New York and New Jersey.

The case is being investigated by the Nebraska State Patrol and the Drug Enforcement Administration. 

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