A 28-year-old Costa Mesa man accused of possession with the intent to sell drugs, including “China White,” a new strain of designer heroin laced with the opioid fentanyl, pleaded guilty Monday and was immediately sentenced to about 18 months in jail.
Costa Mesa police said in September that it was the first arrest for possession of the new designer drug.
“This is the first known arrest for possession of fentanyl-based heroin for sale within the city of Costa Mesa,” Costa Mesa Police Department Chief Rob Sharpnack said when Christopher Eugene Miller was taken into custody.
The drug is “extremely dangerous and is the most powerful synthetic opioid available,” Sharpnack said.
According to Sharpnack, “it is so powerful that mere inhalation or contact with the skin can cause a drug overdose resulting in death.”
Miller settled two cases with plea bargains Monday, his attorney, Cameron Talley said. He also admitted possession drugs with the intent to sell while released on bail in the other case.
Police served a search warrant at Miller’s residence in the 400 block of Fair Drive, according to Roxi Fyad of the Costa Mesa Police Department.
In the home, police found he possessed about three grams of the heroin and about $1,000 in cash, Fyad said.
Investigators also found two more ounces of the heroin, two ounces of methamphetamine, $8,000 in cash, Xanax pills, plastic baggies, a digital scale and other drug paraphernalia in the home, Fyad said.
In December 2015 and January 2017, Miller got drug possession and drug dealing convictions dating back to 2009 and 2010 dismissed, according to court records.
Miller’s attorney said his client was well along on the road to recovery and was primarily just a drug addict.
“There are, of course, people who only sell drugs and only sell large amounts of drugs and those kinds of guys should burn in hell because they’re really evil,” Talley said.
“But every addict in the world flips dope on some level. Someone gives them five bags and they’re told to sell four and keep the fifth one for yourself. The idea that Chris was some kind of kingpin drug dealer is wrong. He wasn’t. He was an addict. He’s doing well now and is in recovery. He’s committed to a 12-step program so I’m proud of him.”