A man was arrested on Halloween after federal authorities intercepted a shipment of a powerful opioid that’s best used to anesthetize elephants.
Theodore Pierce, 46, was arrested at his home in Gloucester Township on Tuesday, the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office said.
According to the affidavit of probable cause in his case, authorities began investigating Pierce after members of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security intercepted a package addressed to him that had been shipped from overseas.
The package, seized at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, contained a white powder that tested positive for carfentanil, the court document said.
Carfentanil is an opioid 100 times stronger than fentanyl, which itself is at least 50 times stronger than heroin, according to the federal Open Chemistry Database.
It’s not clear how much carfentanil constitutes a lethal dose, but as little as two milligrams of fentanyl could kill someone, depending on how it’s administered, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The DEA warned law enforcement and the public about carfentanil in September 2016.
“We see it on the streets, often disguised as heroin,” former DEA administrator Chuck Rosenberg wrote at the time. “It is crazy dangerous.”
After the package was seized from JFK on Oct. 25, members of the prosecutor’s office, Homeland Security, Gloucester Township police and the county sheriff’s department got a warrant and staged a delivery at Pierce’s home.
Once Pierce accepted the package, the authorities acted on the warrant and arrested him.
He faces a third-degree possession charge for less than a half ounce of the drug.
Joe Brandt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JBrandt_NJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.
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