DULUTH – Enough suspected pure fentanyl powder to kill 26,000 people was seized here Thursday in what authorities are calling the largest bust of the potent drug in Minnesota this year.
Law enforcement agents arrested two men after seizing 80 grams of the powder they found — 72 grams in a sock in a vehicle and 8.5 grams in a garbage can, according to court documents filed in the case. The substance was sent to a drug laboratory for analysis.
Raymond Valentino Bowser, 35, of Chicago, and Denzel Lavon Hale, 29, of Duluth, were both being held in the St. Louis County jail Friday evening on $100,000 bail.
Fentanyl is “up to 100 times stronger than morphine” and only a few milligrams can kill a person, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Superintendent Drew Evans said in a news release announcing the arrests.
Bowser was charged in St. Louis County District Court with aiding and abetting first-degree sale of 50 grams or more of narcotics as well as fleeing police. Hale was charged with first-degree sale of 50 grams or more.
Agents from the BCA conducted four controlled buys of heroin or fentanyl from Hale during the past three months using an informant, according to search warrants filed in the case.
Bowser would travel to the Duluth-Superior area occasionally with large amounts of the drug for distribution, a search warrant affidavit said, and authorities learned he was planning a trip by bus this week.
The Carlton County Sheriff’s Office, the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, the Superior Police Department and the FBI assisted in the case.