• 22,000 fentanyl pills and 4 pounds of meth
  • Street value of the drugs was between $40,000 and $55,000


The Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office intercepted the shipment of 22,000 fentanyl pills and 4 pounds of meth. Around 8,000 fentanyl pills were ready to hit the streets in Sandoval County, officials said.

Laura Whittenburger, of Rio Rancho, was arrested and taken into custody.

Whittenburger faces charges of Conspiracy to Trafficking Dangerous Illegal Narcotics. For this, she could get up to nine years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

However, this is subject to change depending on the amount and type of drugs that were trafficked.

The street value of all the illegal drugs seized during this operation was $40,000 to $55,000, according to the sheriff’s office.

“Since the Street Crimes Intelligence Unit has been created and along with other divisions of the department, they have seized over a half million dollars in illegal drugs,” Sheriff Jesse James Casaus said.

Lately, New Mexico has been having issues with drug trafficking, especially with fentanyl. Sandoval County is not immune.

The Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office Street Crimes and Intelligence Unit worked to gather information regarding the trafficking of dangerous illegal narcotics, including fentanyl.

A Joint Task Force operation was put into effect working closely with other agencies on August 18.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50-100 times stronger than morphine. It was originally used to treat extreme pain, but higher doses cause similar reactions to meth or cocaine. Illicit fentanyl is showing up in pills, heroin, meth, and cocaine and causing overdose deaths.

The New Mexico Department of Health stated that Fentanyl overdoses increased dramatically at the start of the COVID pandemic.

This story will be updated.