Four Oklahoma men have been accused of distributing counterfeit oxycodone pills containing the deadly opioid fentanyl. At least two people have died from drug overdoses after taking the pills according to media reports. Fentanyl is a synthetic drug that is many times more powerful than heroin, and even trace amounts of it can be lethal. When he announced the arrests, Attorney General Mike Hunter said that even touching fentanyl can be life-threatening.
The evidence that led to the men being taken into custody was gathered during the investigation into the two overdose deaths. Initial reports do not reveal what led to police to conclude that the men ran a drug distribution ring. Local law enforcement was assisted during the investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics. The four suspects were all apprehended in Oklahoma County according to reports.
Police say that the pills the four men are accused of distributing were designed to look like prescription oxycodone tablets. It is not clear whether or not their alleged customers knew what they were buying. A search of a property allegedly used by the men is said to have led to the discovery of more than 700 of the pills along with several firearms and about $16,000 in U.S. currency. Police and prosecutors believe that the money found was earned by selling drugs.
Items discovered during searches are often the most important pieces of evidence against individuals facing drug charges. Criminal defense attorneys with experience in these cases may sometimes seek to have such evidence excluded even if the police officers involved secured a search warrant before taking action. Attorneys could make this argument if the search warrant was obtained based on dubious probable cause or when the officers who conducted the search went beyond boundaries laid down by the issuing magistrate or judge.