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February 26, 2022: Protesters at the White House advocate for stronger laws against Chinese manufacturers who produce Fentanyl. (Photo: Phil Pasquini/Shutterstock)

Yuba County Fentanyl Plight: Small County, Big Crisis

‘How Kamala Harris and Democrat politicians sacrificed California’s children and gave cartels and dealers the upper-hand in the war on drugs’

By Katy Grimes, October 20, 2022 2:45 am

County officials across California are dealing with the Fentanyl overdose crisis, with the drug pouring into the United States at the Southern Border. The Globe just reported on the Fentanyl crisis in San Francisco, with the County Office of the Chief Medical Examiner reporting that fentanyl overdoses are on a severe rise.

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, “Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50-100 times stronger than morphine. Pharmaceutical fentanyl was developed for pain management treatment of cancer patients, applied in a patch on the skin.”

Yuba County District Attorney Clint Curry. (Photo: Yuba.org)

The Globe spoke at length with Yuba County District Attorney Clint Curry and Yuba County Sheriff Wendell Anderson about what they are dealing with and the efforts they are expending to stop fentanyl-related deaths and overdoses.

But first, we need to understand why California’s county officials are faced with such a dramatic increase in illegal and deadly drugs, drug cartels, and illegal growers.

This article could be titled, “How Kamala Harris and Democrat politicians sacrificed our children and gave cartels and dealers the upper-hand in the war on drugs,” said DA Curry.

He said it started in 2011, when then-Attorney General Kamala Harris, with California Gov. Jerry Brown, disbanded the California Department of Justice Drug Enforcement and Investigation Bureaus. Brown called it “reallocating” funding, which cut in half the enforcement work force of Drug Enforcement and Investigation Bureaus, terminating 200 of the 400 DOJ investigators are being notified they will lose their jobs due to this reallocation of funds, PR Newswire reported in 2011. Political forces favoring the legalization of drugs in California are said to have been behind the move. As we now know, marijuana has been legalized in California, and drug crimes have been bumped down to misdemeanors or citations, thanks to passage of Proposition 47 in 2014.

This helped usher in a total lack of accountability which has led to open drug use and unaccountable drug dealing.

Yuba County Sheriff Wendell Anderson. (Photo: Yuba.org)

Both DA Curry and Sheriff Anderson said kids in Yuba County are dying because of Fentanyl. The Sheriff added that many more are overdoses than deaths, because Narcan, which is used to treat narcotic overdose in an emergency situation, is administered in time. “Rideout Hospital (in Marysville) is number two in the state for handing out Narcan,” DA Curry said. The schools are trained and keep Narcan on hand, as do many families.

“But, it’s also an enabler,” Sheriff Anderson said, “because people taking Fentanyl know that Narcan can save them.”

“What so many kids don’t know is that one pill can kill you,” Sheriff Anderson said. “We’ve never seen anything like this.”

The Globe asked about any other illicit drug issues in the County.

District Attorney Curry said in 1990 there were 100 methamphetamine labs a year operating in the county. Each one would produce ounces a day. Now there may be one lab which produces hundreds of pounds. But meth is so cheap now – it has gone down 90% in price since 1990.

And so is Fentanyl – cheap.

DA Curry explained the process and why the drug is so deadly:

The cartels and chemists in Mexico can produce thousands of pounds of the synthetic drug in pure brick form. Then it is “cut” or blended with a non-active ingredient for filler and binder. But it is not evenly cut and blended.

He said when Fentanyl is made in legal form, commercial pharmacies mix it and make sure the drug is evenly distributed  throughout. The cartel chemists don’t do this, which is why in a batch of pills, one pill may make one teen high, and the next pill may be deadly for the next teen.

“And Fentanyl looks like safer drugs – like Oxycodone and Xanax,” DA Curry said. “And they are reaching a broader group in society by disguising the pills in pinks and blues, and to look like Skittles.”

“The synthetic Fentanyl is similar to morphine but about 100 times more potent,” Sheriff Anderson said.

What separates Fentanyl from heroin is that Fentanyl is synthetic and heroin is grown from the seed pod of the opium poppy plants. DA Curry said this is why the cartel took over making it – they can do it illicitly and cheaply in Mexico.

DA Curry said with the lack of reinforcement for drug dealing in this criminal justice reform/anti-police era, “California is killing us.”

It started with Gov. Jerry Brown’s Assembly Bill 109, the supposed “realignment” of prisons, which really forced responsibility of state prisoners, and subsequently many drug crimes, down to the counties. Then Propositions 47 and 57 came along, essentially decriminalizing many drug crimes, taking away the ability to “flip” drug dealers into cooperating with police.

DA Curry said when AG Kamala Harris disbanded the drug enforcement agency, “they took away our only stick. Now they (drug dealers) never have to go to drug court.”

And with early parole being handed out for “good behavior” in prison, “everyone is impacted by early releases,” Curry said. “The parole population is the community with the drug problem,” he added.

“If you behave yourself in prison, you’ll do 1/3 of the sentence,” Sheriff Anderson said. “They’ve decriminalized so many crimes, we’ve lost all accountability.”

“We have made crime and drugs cheap to buy, and cheap on dealers with the elimination of accountability,” DA Curry said. “But there must be consequences to drug pushing.”

Both DA Curry and Sheriff Anderson said the legislation coming from Sacramento is wrongheaded, and behind this lack of accountability. Legalizing marijuana ushered in huge pot grows, which funds cartel drug trafficking, the Sheriff said. “The land is cheap up here in the foothills, and they take advantage of our fewer resources.”

DA Curry described what used to be 10,000 to 12,000 illegal marijuana plants hidden in state or national forest lands have turned into huge indoor grows, which fund the cartels other illegal operations.

They lamented the loss of the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, “because they worked in collaboration with us, and there was funding for it,” DA Curry said.

“We had a local commander assigned to our task force,” Yuba County Sheriff Anderson said. “I’ve seen a lot of families that have been impacted by drugs, opioids and fentanyl. It’s heartbreaking.”

He said Yuba County and Sutter County statistics are combined and report 12 Fentanyl deaths this year. Butte County has 20 Fentanyl deaths. Sacramento County has 120 Fentanyl deaths.

It’s clearly appearing like an epidemic in California, and more needs to be done to stop the spread of Fentanyl.

This article is part of a special series called “Common Sense Public Safety” where California District Attorneys present and analyze various issues in the state.

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3 thoughts on “Yuba County Fentanyl Plight: Small County, Big Crisis

  1. Those stupid enough to take this garbage are the same ones we desperately need removed from the gene pool. As I see it, it’s a Democrat win-win.

  2. What’s really sick about the critically desperate fentanyl (et al) situation is that, knowing as we do so well the players at the root of this, Kamala Harris and Jerry Brown, we know that if they had it to do all over again, they would, even if they knew the horror-show results of their policies. Then throw Gavin Newsom and the mega-majority-Dem legislature into the culprit mix for doing NOTHING to reverse AB 109, Props 47 and 57, for releasing tens of thousands of state prisoners, for de-fanging all existing criminal justice deterrence efforts, for neglecting to address dangerous and deadly cartel-connected illegal pot grows on public lands (I don’t count AG Bonta’s very recent empty token so-called “efforts” in an election year), and for continuing in their march to legalize even more drugs of every description and with no end in sight. This is only a partial list, of course. Completely outrageous and unacceptable. STOP voting for these enabler-Dems.

  3. Here’s a potential educational tool: Put arrested fentanyl dealers in chains and march them onstage at every school auditorium in the state. Force the dealers to ingest two of the pills they were selling and let the student audience draw their own conclusions.

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