Two brothers were apprehended with nearly nine pounds of fentanyl in the Temecula Valley, authorities said Thursday.
Carlos Ibarria, 39, and Julio Ibarria, 40, both of San Diego, were arrested Wednesday night on suspicion of transportation of narcotics for sale. They were booked into the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta, but bail information was not immediately available.
According to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, members of the county’s Gang Impact Team, which includes D.A.’s office investigators, were alerted to the brothers allegedly bringing an unknown quantity of fentanyl into the county, prompting the team to track the pair down.
The men were located just outside the city of Temecula, where they were stopped and searched, investigators said.
Just under nine pounds — or four kilograms — of powdered fentanyl were seized during the search, according to the D.A.’s office.
The seizure comes a day after a Los Angeles couple were arrested while allegedly in possession of 4.5 pounds of powdered fentanyl in Murrieta. Since Feb. 4, the Gang Impact Team has taken a total 22 pounds of fentanyl off of the streets, investigators said.
“The amount of this deadly drug coming into our county is terrifying,” D.A. Chief of Investigators Joe DelGiudice said. “Each seizure means more lives saved. It’s that simple.”
Only about two milligrams of fentanyl — well under a teaspoon-size amount — can potentially be lethal, according to authorities.
The county, like other parts of the state and country, has been inundated with the synthetic opioid, which authorities say is manufactured in China and smuggled across the border with Mexico. Between 2018 and 2020, the number of lethal fentanyl overdoses increased 300% countywide, according to Sheriff Chad Bianco.
Specifics on how the investigation developed and culminated in Wednesday’s seizure were not disclosed.
In the last two weeks, three county residents have been charged with second-degree murder in connection with deaths from fentanyl toxicity.
Last month, Bianco and D.A. Mike Hestrin announced an aggressive strategy to crack down on dealers, all of whom, they said, would be investigated and possibly prosecuted for murder in cases in which individuals overdosed and died from fentanyl that the suspects supplied.