So-Called California Fentanyl Kingpin Indicted for Drug Trafficking
A 36-year-old man in Cerritos, California, known as the "California fentanyl kingpin," was charged by a grand jury for his role as an online trafficker. Prosecutors estimate Christopher Hampton sold millions of pills on the darknet. His arrest, authorities say, is part of a federal crackdown on the synthetic fentanyl, which is costing thousands of lives every year.
What Crimes Is The "Fentanyl King" Charged With?
The grand jury indicted Christopher Hampton with "heading an organization that obtained bulk fentanyl, operated labs in Inglewood and Compton that used high-speed pill presses to create fake pills containing fentanyl and methamphetamine and sold millions of pills to thousands of customers on the darknet," according to the documents from the court case.
Those pills, often marketed as other drugs like Molly and Oxycontin, could mean death for opioid-naïve users. Fentanyl is a highly potent narcotic, 50 to 100 times the strength of morphine.
Authorities found the suspect trafficking online through various darknet forums under the name "'Narco710'. Tracking his transactions and movements, officers executed a search warrant on his home as soon as they identified him. Searching his home netted 450 pounds of suspected narcotics and the tools to create a makeshift pharmaceutical lab.
Alongside the pills, there were six professional pill press machines. The machines were so high-quality that they could create thousands of pills per hour. He also had 20,000 multi-colored pills of "rainbow fentanyl," also called skittles, on the street.
Fentanyl Trafficking Is an Ongoing Problem in California
California is one of many states in the US facing a fentanyl crisis. One in six pills sold on the street contains some amount of fentanyl, according to seizures from the DEA. That includes drugs sold as speed, meth, and Molly. And many people who use party drugs or stimulants do not have the tolerance to opioids to survive a fentanyl overdose.
For some reason, it seems fentanyl is in the country to stay. Authorities in California are taking measures to fight it; after several overdoses in high schools, the state plans to create a funded mandate for junior and high schools to carry Naloxone, the overdose-reversal drugs for opioids. Money is also being put into more programs to combat homelessness and mental illness.
Fentanyl Is Poisoning Opioid-Naïve Drug Users
Many people who end up overdosing on opioids don't even realize that's what they're taking. Many expect to take other drugs instead and are caught off-guard, risking their lives. As a result, some people overdose, and some become addicted. It seems to be a gamble that drug dealers are willing to take.
If you or a loved one has a substance use disorder, you don't have to try to get sober alone. The risk of overdose and long-term harm to your body and your mental health isn't worth the pain! Recovery is possible.
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