DEA task force seizes 7 kilos of heroin, fentanyl destined for Bexar County

Two people arrested, facing federal charges

By Garrett Brnger - Reporter, Eddie Latigo - Photojournalist

A shipment of heroin and fentanyl that investigators say was destined for Bexar County was seized Tuesday night in Kendall County outside of Boerne.

The seizure and resulting two arrests were part of a Drug Enforcement Administration task force operation, said Dante Sorianello, chief of the San Antonio District for the DEA and assistant special agent in charge.

Sorianello said the 4 kilograms of black tar heroin and what they believe are 3 kilograms of fentanyl likely came from Mexico.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas, Ramon Balbuena-Corral, 46, and Miriam Angelica Cabello, 20, are charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

Citing an ongoing investigation, Sorianello wouldn't go into details of the operation beyond saying it was "undercover style."

A Hollywood Park police officer was part of the operation as a member of the task force, and the department posted pictures on Facebook on Wednesday of the seized drugs. Police Chief Shad Prichard said it's important for his department to assist the DEA.

"If we can stop them at the supplier level, keep them from getting to the user level, then we're doing our part to keep our community safe, as well," Prichard said.

Both Prichard and Sorianello stressed the danger of fentanyl, in particular.

"Just a grain of salt size amount of fentanyl is enough, depending on its strength, to get you high or even cause you to overdose," Sorianello said, giving a "small speculation" that each kilogram of the drug could be broken down into more than 10,000 doses.

People may not even know they are taking fentanyl. Sorianello said they have seen the drug used in counterfeit oxycodone and hydrocodone pills.

"These are being produced by somebody in their backyard or in their kitchen with a pill-pressing machine, basically using a kitchen recipe, thinking they're going to put just a small amount of fentanyl into one of these pills or capsules to give that person that high," Sorianello said. "However, because it's not monitored, it is not scientific and it is fentanyl, a lot of these pills are receiving too much fentanyl — enough that will kill a person."

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