JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
Two Jefferson City men were arrested Thursday after police said they found 900 fentanyl pills and a stolen gun in their car.
According to a press release from Jefferson City Police Department, officers pulled over the car for a traffic stop on Industrial Drive near West McCarty Street. After searching the car, police say they found one of the passengers carrying the M30 fentanyl pills.
Keon Hall and Typer McClinton, both of Jefferson City, were charged with second-degree drug trafficking. McClinton was also charged with illegal gun possession and unlawful use of a weapon. Both are being held without bond at the Cole County Jail. A court date has not been set.
Police added the two are affiliated with a group known to sell non-authentic M30 pills, often laced with the narcotic fentanyl.
“The illicit substances are out there, they're poisoning America,” Andree Swanson, the DEA St. Louis Public Information Officer said. “We consider [fentanyl] the greatest threat to public health and safety in our time because it only takes two milligrams to kill somebody.”
Swanson said to imagine a sugar packet. If an average one-gram packet was entirely powder fentanyl, it would be lethal to 500 people.
Officers also found a gun reported stolen from St. Louis, according to the release. In a backpack -- allegedly belonging to McClinton -- police said they found more crushed fentanyl pills and $8,200 in cash.
Both passengers are in custody at the Cole County Jail, according to the release. The 21-year-old suspect, Hall, faces charges for trafficking drugs. Officers added when he was arrested, he has been on bail for a different narcotics-related offense. He was found carrying M30 pills during a traffic stop officers made in August according to court records.
The second 22-year-old passenger, McClinton, faces charges of trafficking drugs, possession of a firearm, and possession of a firearm by a felon. According to the release, he was on parole for other convictions involving robbery and assault.
Officers added that the value of the 900 M30 pills is estimated to be over $9,000.
Swanson said the department has been seeing an increase in fentanyl overdoses since 2019. The pace hasn’t slowed either.
M30 pills are meant to imitate oxycodone that could be gotten at a pharmacy. However, when the pills are sold on the streets, it’s hard to differentiate between authentic ones and ones laced with fentanyl.
“That's the big scary thing is you don't know what you're getting anymore,” Swanson added. “If you didn't get a prescription from your doctor and you didn't get it from a pharmacy, then don't take it.”
While the DEA continues its own investigations into dealers, Swanson added that awareness of fentanyl poisoning is also important. Especially among teens and young adults.
"If we can stop these adolescents who are getting hold of these fake pills,” Swanson said. “Thinking they're real, dying from them, we could save some lives."