Sweet Bust Leaves Sour Taste For Cops

13 pounds of sugar misidentified as fentanyl

AUGUST 28--When North Carolina police last month announced the seizure of 13 pounds of fentanyl, they estimated that the narcotics haul had a street value in excess of $2 million and could yield dealers hundreds of thousands of bags of the deadly opioid.

Turns out, however, the “fentanyl” was actually sugar.

After heralding the confiscation at a Wilmington home as one of the largest fentanyl seizures in the state’s history, New Hanover County investigators have revealed that a field test of the white powder (seen above) resulted in a false positive at the time of an early-July raid.

A subsequent test at a state crime lab revealed that powder was sugar. The field test used by police was manufactured by Scott Company Drug Testing, a Texas firm that sells a variety of narcotics testing kits to law enforcement agencies nationwide.

The firm, which is seeking to determine the reason for the false positive, sells a package of 10 fentanyl detection kits for $9.90. Seen at right is an image of a fentanyl kit found on the company's web site.

While fentanyl possession charges have been dropped against three defendants arrested last month, the trio still faces other assorted narcotics charges. The defendants, each of whom is free on bond, were arrested at the conclusion of an undercover operation run by the sheriff’s Gang Task Force.

This is almost as bad as mistaking Jolly Ranchers for meth rocks. Or breath mints for Ecstasy.