In what is believed to be the largest seizure of carfentanil in Riverside County, Perris residents Andres Jesus Morales, 30, and Alyssa Christine Poncea, 27, have been charged by the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office with four drug-related felonies after a lengthy investigation by the Riverside Police Department.
The investigation led to the seizure of dozens of kilos of illegal drugs, including 21 kilos of suspected carfentanil. “If mixed in with other drugs, the 21 kilos of carfentanil seized could have been enough to potentially kill more than 50 million people,” the DA’s Office said in a press release.
Carfentanil, an analog of the manmade opioid fentanyl, is highly regulated and not intended or approved for use on humans. Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than fentanyl and 10,000 times more potent than morphine. A lethal dose of carfentanil in humans would be at the nanogram level – much smaller than the two milligrams of fentanyl that can kill, officials said.
Morales and Poncea have each been charged with four felonies for possession for sales of fentanyl, cocaine, and heroin. They were arraigned on September 23. Both entered not guilty pleas to all counts. They are being held on no bail.
Since the beginning of the year, Riverside police detectives in the department’s Narcotics Unit have been investigating a suspected drug trafficking organization believed to be supplying fentanyl, cocaine, and heroin in Riverside County.
On August 17, Riverside police served a search warrant at a home on Glimmer Way in Perris and seized the 21 kilos of carfentanil, four kilos of cocaine, and one kilo of heroin, the DA’s Office said. No one was at the location when the warrant was served; however, detectives were able to identify Morales and Ponce as the suspects, according to the DA’s Office.
On September 14, detectives served another search warrant at a home on Limousin Street in Perris and located another 16 kilos of cocaine in the garage, according to the DA’s Office. Morales and Ponce were arrested and booked at the Robert Presley Detention Center.