MADISONVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday morning that a multiagency operation late Wednesday night resulted in a drug bust that the sheriff says disrupts a local fentanyl distribution network.
According to Monroe County Sheriff Tommy Jones, MCSO’s Narcotics Division and the Tennessee Highway Patrol executed a traffic stop on Highway 411 and apprehended “a key individual” and confiscated “a significant cache of illegal substances,” which included what Jones described as “fen balls.”
“During the traffic stop conducted on Highway 411 in the Gudger area, officers identified contraband in plain sight within the vehicle,” a release on Jones’ official Facebook page states. “This discovery prompted a thorough search, revealing a staggering haul of 196 pressed fentanyl pills, commonly known as ‘fen balls,’. The seizure also included a substantial amount of currency and additional contraband, which underscores the scale of this drug trafficking operation.”
A suspect identified as Andrew Wayne Pierce was taken into custody without any incident and transported to the Monroe County Jail.
A photo of the “fen balls,” contraband and currency was also shared in Jones’ social media post.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, fentanyl is described as a powerful synthetic or lab-made opioid that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat severe pain related to surgery or complex pain conditions; however, over the past decade, fentanyl made and distributed illegally and other illegally made synthetic opioids have increasingly been found in the drug supply.
“During this time, fentanyl and related substances have contributed to a dramatic rise in drug overdose deaths in the United States,” the NIDA page on fentanyl states.