A synthetic drug popular in Colombia's club scene was recently found to be laced with the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl, creating a deadly mix that has not been previously reported in Latin America.
Police said a gang known as the Tecno was selling 2CB, a synthetic hallucinogenic similar to ecstasy or MDMA, that showed traces of fentanyl, Caracol reported. Police dismantled the gang after infiltrating a party in Armenia, a city in western Colombia.
According to police sources, five members of the Tecno gang were DJs with a national and international fanbase, who they say used their fame and connections to organize dance parties where the drug was sold.
Images of the drugs seized show pharmaceutical, liquid fentanyl in vials.*
The 2CB also contained ketamine, another hallucinogenic, which is known to be smuggled into Colombia from Ecuador. Other chemicals used could have been sourced in Peru. The unidentified police officials told Caracol that the formula for the drug came from Spain.
“It was based on ketamine, hydromorphone, ephedrine, acetaminophen, among other elements," one criminal investigator told Caracol, adding that the drug was particularly addictive due to its chemical makeup.
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The discovery of 2CB laced with fentanyl is alarming, given the potential for the cocktail to be deadly.
While 2CB on its own can be dangerous, fentanyl is significantly more so. The synthetic opioid is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. A dose of just two milligrams of fentanyl can be lethal depending on a person’s body mass, tolerance and past usage, according to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Fentanyl has fueled overdose deaths in the United States, which is in the grip of an expanding drug overdose crisis. Unlike the fentanyl seized in the raid on the party in Colombia, the illegal fentanyl driving overdoses in the US comes largely in powder form.
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Given that this appears to be the first case of fentanyl being found in 2CB, it's not possible to determine whether it is a trend. While 2CB has been popular for the last decade in Colombia's club scene and has been known to be cut with other drugs, fentanyl is relatively uncommon in the country. The first seizure of fentanyl in Colombia only came in late 2019.
*This article was updated with information about the type of fentanyl seized.