The following information is being jointly released by Burlington County Prosecutor LaChia L. Bradshaw, Ricky J. Patel, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Newark Field Office of United States Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and Mount Laurel Police Chief Stephen Riedener.
A joint investigation by the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office Gang, Gun and Narcotics Task Force, United States Homeland Security Investigations – Cherry Hill Office, and the Mount Laurel Police Department culminated in the seizure yesterday of 10,000 fentanyl pills – worth $40,000 on the street – and the arrest of a 33-year-old Florida man.
Shane Smith, of Daytona Beach, was charged with two counts of Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Second Degree). He was lodged in the Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly pending a detention hearing in Superior Court. The case will be prepared for presentation to a grand jury for possible indictment.
Smith was arrested in the parking lot of the Walmart on Route 73. Details of investigation, which began earlier this month, are not being released at this time.
The seized pills are multicolored and informally known as rainbow fentanyl. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, this trend appears to be a new method used by drug cartels to sell highly addictive and potentially deadly fentanyl made to look like candy to children and young people.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the DEA. Just two milligrams of fentanyl, which is equal to 10-15 grains of table salt, is considered a lethal dose.
Fentanyl remains the deadliest illicit drug in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 107,622 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2021, with 66 percent of those deaths related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Drug poisonings are the leading killer of Americans between the ages of 18 and 45.
The fentanyl available in the United States is primarily supplied by two criminal drug networks, the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) in Mexico, according to the DEA.
Smith will be prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Michael Angermeier, supervisor of the BCPO Gang, Gun and Narcotics Task Force.
All persons are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.