Police find 55 pounds of fentanyl in traffic stop in Connecticut

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DERBY, Conn. — Police in Connecticut say they have seized 55 pounds of the potent prescription opioid painkiller fentanyl with an estimated street value of $1.5 million from a tractor trailer.

Derby police say the drugs were found in the truck’s cab during a traffic stop Wednesday morning.

The driver, 47-year-old Erick Escalante, of Arizona, was taken into custody and turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration because of the volume of drugs found.

He was held without bond after appearing in federal court on charges of possession, intent to distribute and conspiracy to possess and sell the drug. It could not immediately be determined if he has a lawyer.

His next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 4.

Fentanyl can be blamed for more than half of the overdose deaths this year in New York City, health official said recently. It is cheap and can be smoked, snorted or shot up.

Fentanyl is more often mixed with heroin, cocaine and painkillers. Many times users don’t know they’re taking it.

It is the drug blamed for the death earlier this year of legendary musician Prince, who accidentally overdosed on the powerful painkiller, according to an autopsy.