ODESSA, Texas (KMID/KPEJ)- A search warrant executed Friday night helped the Odessa Police Department seize more than 324 grams of fentanyl laced pills; one person was also arrested as part of the investigation.
According to an OPD report, around 6:30 p.m. on November 3, detectives from the intelligence unit, armed with a search warrant, forced entry into a home in the 1300 block of E 35th Street. While entering the house, drone operators spotted a woman, later identified as Jae Lynn Esparza, running from the garage. Esparza was taken into custody a short time later and charged with Evading Arrest. She was also charged with Manufacture and Delivery of a Controlled Substance and Possession of Marijuana after detectives found 13 ounces of marijuana and 324 grams of fentanyl laced M30 pills, in packages used for drug distribution, inside the home.
Esparza was booked into the Ector County Law Enforcement Center where she remained as of Thursday afternoon on a combined $66,500 bond.
Over the last few years, OPD has been warning the community about the dangers of fentanyl as officers have responded to an increasing number of overdose calls. The drug can cause difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, decreased heart rate, loss of consciousness, coma, or death. OPD said teens have easier access to buying drugs than ever before because of the rise in social media.
That’s just what happened in October, when a 16-year-old overdosed and died after buying M30 pills from a dealer he’d interacted with over social media. That alleged dealer, 18-year-old Nathaniel Martinez, has been charged with Murder in connection with the teen’s death under a new law that went into effect in September which gives prosecutors the authority to seek a murder charged for any person who manufactures or delivers fentanyl when someone dies as a result.
Data released earlier this year from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that U.S. drug “overdose” deaths reached a new high in 2023. The CDC estimates that more than 111,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in the 12-month period ending in April – and more than 77,000 of those deaths involved fentanyl and other synthetic opioids other than methadone. Both are record highs and increases over the prior year. In Texas, fentanyl related deaths rose by 28% during that same time period.