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Villapudua Fights Large-Scale Fentanyl Trafficking with Introduction of AB 701

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua (D-Stockton) recently introduced AB 701 to combat organized crime operations trafficking large amounts of fentanyl.

“The fentanyl crisis has ripped apart and caused unimaginable grief for too many families across all corners of California,” said Assemblymember Villapudua. “These traffickers have worsened the opioid crisis, addicted countless Californians, and exacerbated the tragedy of unsheltered individuals lining the streets. The time of leniency on this must come to an end.”

According to the California Department of Public Health, fentanyl was responsible for 5,722 overdose deaths in California in 2021. This represented 83 percent of all opioid-related overdose deaths and an increase in deaths of over 40 percent from 2020. Fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Despite this, current law goes much easier on kilo-level dealers of fentanyl compared to kilo-level dealers of heroin.

AB 701 adds fentanyl to the list of controlled substances – which currently includes heroin, cocaine, and crack – for which stiffer penalties are levied against dealers of kilo-levels and higher. This bill does not target low-level dealers or users, but rather focuses on those in possession with intent to sell over a kilo of this dangerous drug.

“Fentanyl is an epidemic we cannot ignore,” said San Joaquin County District Attorney Ron Freitas. “We, as prosecutors, need every resource to hold manufacturers and distributors of this poison accountable. I commend Assemblymember Villapudua for working with us and our top narcotics prosecutors to provide solutions like this so that we may keep our communities safe.”

“This is a long overdue change that will deter drug dealers from the distribution and sales of the most dangerous drug in modern history,” said Gregory D. Totten, CEO of California District Attorneys Association. “By doing so, this important measure will help save lives.”

AB 701 provides the tools to crack down on large-scale dealers that have rattled this state and nation. We cannot wait on this any longer.