Fentanyl - Photo courtesy of Joaquin Corbalan P on Shutterstock

A man accused of supplying a fatal dose of fentanyl to a 32-year-old Moreno Valley woman was charged Friday with murder.

Brandon Michael Shino of Jurupa Valley was arrested Wednesday following a months-long Riverside County Sheriff’s Department investigation into the death of Brittany Locke.

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

According to sheriff’s Sgt. Ryan Marcuse, patrol deputies were called to the victim’s residence in the 23000 block of Sunnymead Boulevard on the afternoon of Jan. 4 and found her dead.

An autopsy revealed she was “the victim of fentanyl poisoning,” Marcuse said.

Detectives developed leads that ultimately pointed to Shino as the alleged supplier of the pills she consumed, according to the sergeant.

The defendant has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.

Nearly 20 people have been charged with murder countywide in connection with fentanyl poisoning deaths.

The synthetic opioid is manufactured in overseas labs, including in China, and according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, it’s smuggled across the U.S.-Mexico border by drug cartels.

In its 2021 “International Narcotics Control Strategy Report,” the U.S. State Department noted that “most fentanyl available in the United States has been trafficked from Mexico across the U.S. Southwest border.”

The drug 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.

Last year, there were nearly 400 fentanyl-induced deaths countywide, representing a 200-fold increase from 2016, when public safety officials say 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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