FAIRFIELD — For the third time in less than a year, police have intercepted a multimillion-dollar shipment of fentanyl as it moved through the state.
Connecticut — and specifically I-95 — has become the major thoroughfare from New York to Rhode Island and points north for the transportation of the synthetic opioid 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine, according to law enforcement officials.
State police said a trooper was monitoring northbound traffic on Interstate 95 here Sept. 30 when a 2017 Chevrolet Cruz with Connecticut plates flew by him at more than 70 miles per hour.
Trooper Matthew Losh pulled the car over by Exit 21 and called for backup including a narcotics sniffing dog.
After the dog reacted to the car’s trunk, police said the driver, 19-year-old Isaiah Roman, of Providence, R.I., consented to let police open the trunk. Inside, police said they found five and a half kilograms of fentanyl valued at about $6 million.
“Given the recent increase in overdose deaths attributable to fentanyl, I think it’s fair to say that this seizure has saved lives,” said State’s Attorney John Smriga.
Roman and his passenger, Arianna Spencer, 21, of Cranston, R.I., were both charged with sale of narcotics and possession of narcotics. Roman was being held in lieu of $500,000 bond while Spencer later posted bond. Her lawyer, Edward Gavin, declined comment.
All the 479 people who died of overdoses in 2016 in Connecticut had fentanyl in their system, according to the Office of the Chief State Medical Examiner. In 2014, 75 people died with the drug in their system in the state.
On Sept. 14, state police seized one l kilogram of fentanyl during a routine traffic stop on I-95 in Old Lyme. Two Providence men were arrested.
On Dec. 21, 2016, law enforcement officers stopped a tractor trailer in Derby on Route 34. The officers searched the cab of the tractor trailer and found a box containing 25 kilograms of fentanyl. The driver, Erick Crespo-Escalante, was arrested.