A man attempted to smuggle more than 33 pounds of fentanyl in a suitcase on a train ride through Omaha on Wednesday before authorities recovered the stash — the largest state seizure of the drug.
Drug Enforcement Administration and Nebraska State Patrol officials found 15 vacuum-sealed packages containing a white powder inside luggage at Omaha’s Amtrak Train Station near Ninth and Pacific Streets on Wednesday morning. One of the bundles tested positive for fentanyl, an opioid that is 50 times more powerful than heroin.
DEA Special Agent Kelly Quernemoen and State Patrol Investigator Kevin Finn were conducting routine surveillance when they noticed a new suitcase with no identification on a luggage shelf, according to an affidavit.
They asked all of the train passengers if the suitcase was theirs, but no one claimed it. A 27-year-old man who had previously said the bag wasn’t his then told Finn it was his friend’s bag.
The man told Finn he was traveling from Denver to Chicago to visit his sister, but the man’s ticket showed a departure from Sacramento, California.
Finn asked the man if he could search the bag and the man gave permission.
Inside the bag were 15 bundles of the drug, each weighing about 2.5 pounds.
Authorities said the man was planning to travel to New York or New Jersey with the drugs.
“This fentanyl seizure is the largest ever in Nebraska and one of the largest in the nation,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a press release.
The 27-year-old train passenger has been charged with possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl, which carries a penalty of 10 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $10 million.