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Two illegal immigrants arrested in Michigan earlier this month after police found 20,000 fentanyl pills inside their car told officers they were transporting the drugs for a Mexican cartel.
The arrest happened on April 8 in Sterling Heights when police tried to pull over a BMW with tinted windows, FOX2 Detroit reported, citing police.
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The male driver refused to pullover and led officers on a brief chase to a dead end, according to police. The driver tried to flee on foot but was quickly arrested nearby.
Officers said they discovered 20,000 fentanyl pills disguised as Oxycontin prescription pills hidden inside compartments in the car. Officers also found 500 grams of fentanyl in powder form.
The illicit drugs have an estimated street value of over $350,000, according to authorities.
Police arrested the man and a female passenger, both of whom were from Mexico and illegally in the U.S., the department said. They both allegedly told officers they were moving the drugs for a Mexican drug cartel.
The amount of fentanyl seized could have killed thousands of people, police told the station.
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Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 100 times stronger than morphine and up to 50 times stronger than heroin. It can cause death or serious bodily harm.
Fentanyl is a major contributor to the opioid crisis in the U.S., with synthetic opioids accounting for nearly 73% of all opioid-involved deaths in 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.