An unprecedented quantity of fentanyl was seized in Roberts County last weekend, according to the Roberts County Sheriff's Office.
In a Facebook post Saturday, Sheriff Tyler Appel stated a county deputy and a Sisseton-Wahpeton tribal police officer worked together on the drug bust. About 16 pounds of fentanyl and fentanyl-laced pills were seized during a traffic stop, the largest seizure of fentanyl in South Dakota's history, according to a press release.
"As historic as this seizure is, it is also a reminder our job as law enforcement is needed now more than ever for the safety of our communities, our citizens, and the incredible state of South Dakota," wrote Appel. "Illegal drugs continue to spill into South Dakota's largest cities and make their way all the way down to our rural communities as drug dealers prey on our most vulnerable."
The drugs included about 3 pounds of fentanyl and 53,000 counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl. In total, the drugs were valued at more than $2 million in street value.
Law enforcement made two arrests as a result of the drug seizure. The names of the two individuals arrested have not been released, pending further investigation.
Back in May, Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead told county commissioners overdose deaths had spiked 40% in the last year. Half of those 35 deaths involved fentanyl, according to previous Argus Leader reporting. Sioux Falls, the state's largest city, is the county seat for Minnehaha.
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Milstead, who also serves as South Dakota Chair of the Drug Enforcement Committee for the National Sheriffs' Association, told the Argus Leader the seizure appears to be a record for the state.
"This is a wakeup call for how much dangerous substances are out there in our state and getting into the hands of people struggling with drugs," said Milstead.
Some of the drug cartels in Mexico will target Indian country, said Milstead. While this is an example of the presence of fentanyl in South Dakota, Milstead said he was impressed by the partnership between Roberts County and the tribal partners to work on the case.
This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Fentanyl seizure in Roberts County makes South Dakota history