LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – Fentanyl has become more common in the trafficking and use of illegal drugs in Acadiana. One of the top federal prosecutors in Louisiana says it’s about time to take a closer look at how the offenders in fentanyl cases are sentenced, due to the deadly consequences of the drug.
“We want the public to know, that when buying drugs, no matter what it is on the street, if it’s not prescribed as issued by a pharmacy, you are playing Russian roulette with your life,” said Brandon Brown, U.S. Attorney for the Western District in Louisiana.
Brown says he has a half-dozen fentanyl cases on his desk right now, and the case load is growing. In the latest, two men plead guilty to distribution of fentanyl and conspiracy. Brown says they sold approximately 25 grams of the potentially fatal drug to undercover federal drug agents over time. That amount has a street value of about $1,500. He says fentanyl is making its way to Louisiana, from Mexico and California, and it’s becoming easier to get. “It’s a problem, not only here in Louisiana, but across the south, because of our proximity to Mexico,” said Brown.
Fentanyl ends up mixed with other illegal drugs, like meth and heroin, to give the user a better high. “You think you’re buying an ecstasy pill. It has a trace of fentanyl in it. Depending on your body composition, your weight, your health, it could kill you instantly,” said Brown.
Brown says sentencing in fentanyl cases can be challenging. The length of prison time is driven by the quantity of the drugs involved. More drugs, longer sentence. Fewer drugs, shorter sentence. “It’s probably something that Congress could look at, to make it more severe, given the times we are in. I often wish, on some cases, we can give more time,” said Brown.