What To Know About Fentanyl And Texas Drug Cases
Fentanyl is one of the most frightening substances on the streets, because of its links to thousands of accidental overdose deaths across the country in recent years.
Law enforcement agencies across Texas, as well as the DEA, have been actively pursuing fentanyl trafficking and arresting those involved with the fentanyl trade. A recent drug bust in North Texas involved the seizure of over 15,000 fentanyl pills, and the arrest of over 11 suspects. The DEA reports seizing over 1.8 million fake fentanyl-laced pills in just a recent two-month period.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid similar to morphine. However, fentanyl can be extremely powerful – about 50 to 100 times more potent in many cases. The strength of street-grade fentanyl is even harder to track and impossible to know for those who are unaware they are even ingesting it. Fentanyl is now linked to about 60% of all opioid related deaths because of its acute strength and unpredictable effects on people.
Fentanyl can, at its most minor levels, cause drowsiness, confusion, and nausea. At its extreme, fentanyl can cause slow or reduced breathing, and cut off oxygen to the brain. This can lead to coma, brain damage, and death.
Because fentanyl can produce euphoria and relaxation similar to other narcotics, drug dealers have increasingly mixed the cheaper fentanyl with expensive substances like heroin and cocaine. This maximizes their profits from unsuspecting customers. Tragically, it also leads to thousands of needless overdoses and deaths.
What are the Penalties for Fentanyl Possession? What If the Defendant Didn’t Know they Possessed Fentanyl?
Possession of fentanyl is a serious crime and will be prosecuted under the Texas Penal Code’s laws on controlled substances. Possession of a drug such as fentanyl can include potential felony charges and years in prison. However, the prosecution must show the following elements in a Texas drug case:
- Knowledge/Intent: That the defendant had knowledge that the substance was an illegal controlled substance;
- Possession: This means “actual care, control, or management” over the substance. This generally means having it in their physical possession, or having it in a place where they know they can access it.
- The item was a controlled substance: The substance must be identified within the Texas Controlled Substances Act as a prohibited item. Sometimes, in fentanyl cases, a defendant and prosecutor does not know fentanyl was involved until lab analysis shows the pills contained a percentage of fentanyl.
Whether someone can be prosecuted for fentanyl possession or distribution really hinges on the knowledge element of the prosecution’s case. If a person bought pills they reasonably believed were oxycodone, but turned out to have some fentanyl, they would have a strong defense against the fentanyl charge.
Some cases are more clear cut, obviously, such as those with individuals intentionally distributing large amounts of fentanyl. Other cases fall into gray areas or offer potential defenses for those charged.
Our Pearland, Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Can Address the Complicated Issues Involved in a Fentanyl Possession Case
Drug possession charges in Texas are serious, and can carry severe penalties and life consequences. When fentanyl is mixed with other narcotics, those cases can be more complex. A defendant might not even know they possessed fentanyl until a lab result comes back. At Keith B. French Law, our Pearland criminal lawyers understand your concerns, and know how to build a defense against even the most complicated drug possession cases. If you have any questions whatsoever, contact the offices of Keith B. French Law, PLLC, today or call 832-243-6153 to discuss how our proven track record and abilities can help you in your case.