Fentanyl - Photo courtesy of Joaquin Corbalan P on Shutterstock

A man accused of supplying a lethal dose of fentanyl to a 29-year-old Norco resident was charged Thursday with murder.

Jacob Austin Parr, 43, of Norco, was arrested Tuesday following a roughly two-month-long Riverside County sheriff’s investigation into the death Isaak Quintin Ruiz.

Parr, who is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside, was slated to make his initial court appearance Thursday afternoon at the Riverside Hall of Justice.

According to sheriff’s Sgt. Ryan Marcuse, in the predawn hours of April 23, patrol deputies were called to Ruiz’s residence in the 1400 block of Sixth Street to investigate reports of a man down.

When deputies and paramedics arrived, they discovered the victim dead at the scene, Marcuse said.

Homicide detectives took over the case and “determined the decedent … was a victim of fentanyl poisoning,” the sergeant said.

He said further investigation ultimately identified Parr as the alleged distributor of the fentanyl that the victim consumed.

No other details were disclosed.

The defendant is one of more than a dozen county residents who have charged with murder in connection with fentanyl poisonings since February 2021.

Parr has prior misdemeanor convictions for driving under the influence and hit-and-run resulting in property damage, according to court records.

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.

According to county public safety officials, in 2021, there were nearly 400 fentanyl-induced deaths countywide, representing a 200-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 over 80,000 of them.

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