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ST. LOUIS — An 18-year-old Maricopa man was caught last week traveling with more than 22 pounds of the synthetic opioid fentanyl in one of the largest seizures of the highly potent drug in Missouri, federal prosecutors say.

Daniel Cervantes Felix was charged in a criminal complaint for his involvement in the possession with the intent to distribute 10 kilograms of fentanyl.

According to the complaint on Monday, St. Louis County police officers pulled over a GMC Sierra driven by Felix after he allegedly violated various traffic laws. Felix granted consent to search his vehicle. Officers discovered multiple kilo-size bricks totaling 10 kilograms of fentanyl.

Felix has been charged with one count of possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance. He faces a statutory mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison if convicted.

“This is a fine example of the productive, collaborative relationships we enjoy with our federal partners,” Col. Jon M. Belmar, chief of police, stated. “I am incredibly proud of the work by the officers and agents. They stopped the distribution of this deadly substance before it could reach our communities and poison our families, friends and neighbors.”

U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen said that it was the second largest seizure of fentanyl in the eastern half of the state.

“The allegations in this case involve the second largest seizure of fentanyl in this district. This amounts to millions of doses of fentanyl — enough to destroy or end the lives of hundreds of thousands of Missourians. This conduct simply will not be tolerated by law enforcement. We are grateful to the St. Louis County police and DEA agents involved in this on-going investigation. Their seizure of this poison has saved many, many lives,” Jensen said.

The charge is the result of a joint investigation between the St. Louis County Police Department’s Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The criminal complaint says investigators believe he was taking the drug to New York when he was stopped on Interstate 44.

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