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Priest River woman charged with selling fentanyl pills

Staff Writer | May 11, 2023 1:00 AM

PRIEST RIVER — A 52-year-old Priest River woman was arrested Tuesday in the city on a charge of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl pills.

The arrest of Kristy Miller followed a monthslong investigation by the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office deputies, detectives and officers from the Priest River Police Department.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. It is a major contributor to both fatal and nonfatal overdoses in the community and throughout the United States.

The investigation into the distribution of fentanyl pills in western Bonner County resulted in detectives executing a search warrant at the woman’s residence, where she was arrested, BCSO officials said in a press release.

During the search, Bonner County Sheriff’s Office detective Jon VanGesen said investigators located potential evidence related to her alleged ongoing distribution of fentanyl pills into the community.

VanGesen said investigators located over 200 fentanyl pills, a safe, drug ledgers, a digital scale, unused reclosable plastic baggies, burnt foil with a partial fentanyl pill, hollow plastic tubes for smoking fentanyl, over $500 and about two grams of methamphetamine.

The woman is being charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, (fentanyl) and possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine).

In the past few years, the community has seen an increase in the use and availability of fentanyl pills, Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler said Fentanyl pills may contain various amounts of fentanyl, however they appear to be Oxycodone or Oxycontin. The pills are small, round, light blue in color and are stamped with a “M” on one side and “30” on the other side. The pills are commonly called “blues” or “mexis,” Wheeler said.

“It is often added to other drugs because of its extreme potency, which makes drugs cheaper, more powerful, more addictive … and more dangerous,” Wheeler said. “Fentanyl-laced drugs are extremely dangerous and many people may be unaware that their drugs are laced with fentanyl.”

In a separate release, Wheeler announced a May 17 town hall meeting on fentanyl dangers. The forum will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at Kaniksu Community Health, 810 Sixth Ave., Sandpoint.

Panhandle Health District, Kaniksu Community Health, Lake Pend Oreille School District, and Idaho State Police officials will present information about fentanyl trends in North Idaho, followed by a discussion panel of community leaders and professionals.

All are invited to attend.