One of the largest fentanyl busts in the US - and the largest in Nebraska - was confirmed by the Nebraska State Patrol on Thursday.
The troopers became suspicious because the truck was empty, there was no electronic log, the driver was nervous and visibly shaking, and the driver and passenger had different stories about why they were in California for 10 days, according to the probable cause affidavit.
Another big bust happened in April when troopers found more than 1800 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop.
- The Nebraska State Patrol says the almost 120 pounds of suspected cocaine and fentanyl that troopers seized last month turned out to be all fentanyl, a deadly opioid that federal officials blame for thousands of deaths nationwide.
Today, Governor Pete Ricketts congratulated more than a dozen troopers and civilians with the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) for their parts in two major recent drug busts.
Opioids, including fentanyl and heroin as well as other painkillers, are the main drivers of overdose deaths across the United States, according to the CDC.
Court records say that the trooper asked to search the truck, then located a concealed compartment underneath the refrigeration unit inside the trailer.
That was the largest single bust of the drug in Nebraska history and one of the largest busts in the country. The Nebraska State Patrol says the compartment contained 42 packages wrapped in foil. "Out of a total of 5,152 opioid overdose deaths, nearly 3,000 tested positive for fentanyl, and over 700 tested positive for drugs that have similar chemical structures to fentanyl", the CDC said in October.
The men were arrested for "possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and no Drug Tax stamp", and booked into the Buffalo County Jail, the news release said. Fentanyl is between 30 to 50 times stronger than heroin and between 50 to 100 times more deadly than morphine, according to the DEA.
In the U.S., it is approved as an anaesthetic and for pain relief, but because of its high profit margin for traffickers, it has become a large part of America's opioid crisis.