Jail - photo courtesy of Pexels

A 43-year-old Norco man suspected of selling narcotics to a 29-year-old man who subsequently died of fentanyl poisoning was behind bars Wednesday.

Jacob Austin Parr was arrested Tuesday and booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside on suspicion of murder, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

He was being held on $1 million.

According to the sheriffs department, at about 12:30 a.m. April 23, sheriff’s deputies responded to the 1400 block of Sixth Street on a report of an unresponsive male. Isaak Quintin Ruiz was pronounced dead at the scene, sheriff’s officials said, and his cause of death was determined to be fentanyl poisoning.

Investigators ultimately identified Parr as the person who allegedly sold the fentanyl to Ruiz, leading to his Tuesday arrest, sheriff’s officials said.

Fentanyl is manufactured in overseas labs and according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, it’s smuggled across the U.S.-Mexico border by drug cartels. The substance is 80-100 times more potent than morphine and is a popular additive, mixed into any number of narcotics and pharmaceuticals. The ingestion of only two milligrams can be fatal.

Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin recently told the Board of Supervisors that there were nearly 500 fentanyl-induced deaths countywide in 2021, which represents a 250-fold increase from 2016, when only two such fatalities were documented.

Statistics published in May by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed there were roughly 108,000 fatal drug overdoses in 2021, and fentanyl poisoning accounted for more than 80,000 of them.

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