Two Men Charged in Fentanyl Bust Were Released by California Judge

Last Updated on June 28, 2022

Two men arrested for trafficking fentanyl in California were released after only spending several days in jail, according to Fox News. Jose Zendejas and Benito Madrigal were arrested on Friday after a traffic stop revealed that the pair possessed approximately 150,000 fentanyl pills. The pair was initially booked on “charges of possession, transportation and selling of illegal drugs,” according to the report.

NEW: The two men who were arrested with 150,000 fentanyl pills in Tulare, CA on Friday have been released from custody on their own recognizance as a result of a court order from a judge following a “risk assessment”. The Sheriff “strongly disagrees” with their release. @FoxNews pic.twitter.com/KIdIQNCTR9

— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) June 28, 2022

A statement released by the Tulare County (CA) Sheriff’s Office explained the process by which detainees are either kept in custody or released. “All inmates booked…are sent through what is known as the Risk Assessment Process…That ‘Risk Assessment’ is then sent to a judge with the court, who, then determines whether or not the individual arrested is held on bail or if they are to be released.”

Sheriff Mike Boudreaux expressed his disagreement with the judge’s decision to release the two men. “California’s system of justice is failing us all,” Boudreaux said.

We’ve learned that Tulare Co. Court Commissioner Mikki Verissimo signed the order to release the men. Sheriff Mike Boudreaux says on @FoxNews that “California’s system of justice is failing us all”, and that when he found out about the release of the men, he was “infuriated”. pic.twitter.com/Aby74ZvjvA

— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) June 28, 2022

According to the Fox News article, the amount of fentanyl seized in this bust is “enough to potentially kill several million people.”

It is unclear where the drugs came from, as the two men who were arrested were from Washington State. Often, fentanyl is made in Mexico and China, but now is made in several other countries such as India, according to a 2020 report by the DEA. It is believed that much of the fentanyl in America comes over the southern border. Smaller amounts even come across the northern border from Canada.

The proliferation of fentanyl into the United States has led to many overdose deaths in recent years. In 2021 alone, over 70,000 deaths were attributed to synthetic opioids, which includes fentanyl. During the Covid lockdowns of 2020, an unprecedented number of Americans died of drug overdoses.

Republicans in Washington have been urging the Biden Administration to act on the border crisis. A letter from the Republican Oversight Committee listed some disturbing statistics. According to the CDC, “the U.S. recorded its highest ever number of drug-overdose deaths in a 12-month period from April 2020 to April 2021. These 100,306 deaths represent a nearly 29 percent increase from deaths recorded in the same period a year earlier.”

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