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BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - Butte County is sending a strong message to drug dealers.
“We’re not going after people for a simple possession, we’re going after the dealers that are killing people,” said Mike Ramsey, Butte County District Attorney.
The new fentanyl warning applies to all local drug dealers.
Once drug dealers are arraigned, a fentanyl notice is given to them.
The fentanyl notice informs drug dealers they could face murder charges and life in state prison if someone were to die from fentanyl-laced drugs they sold.
Ramsey said seven grains of fentanyl, which is equal to seven grains of salt, can be enough to kill someone.
Butte's Narcotics Task Force is also taking action against fentanyl.
Sergeant Sam Burnett said there’s two main ways fentanyl is being distributed in Butte County: oxycodone M30 and xanax pills are being counterfeited with fentanyl.
“Fentanyl is one of our primary focuses right now because of all the overdoses, so if we have two cases [that] come across our desk and one of them is for fentanyl and one of them is for methamphetamine, we’ll go towards the fentanyl case prior to doing the methamphetamine case because of the dangers associated to fentanyl,” said Sgt. Burnett.
Sgt. Burnett adds that more people are purchasing pure-powder fentanyl, snorting the drug as if it were cocaine or methamphetamine, and accidentally overdosing.
The county says, between January to April of this year, 11 deaths were associated with fentanyl, and the number has only increased in the last few months.
Ramsey hopes individuals stop buying drugs.
“Stop! Also, because fentanyl is out there; it is a killer. You don’t know that the drug that you may be taking isn’t laced with fentanyl. It most likely is.”
From 2019 to 2020, Butte County found overdose deaths increased by 34%.