Humboldt California, now Fentanyl Foil County
Humboldt County – the crown jewel of California’s breathtaking Pacific northwest coast, renowned for its giant redwood trees, long stretches of exotic beaches, all but a few moment’s drive from lakes, streams, and trails of endless adventure, has sadly become an area infamous for another reason: fentanyl.
Eureka, California, a place heralded as “Orange Cap City” in a rap song created by a local artist named HiWay, is less of an orange cap city now, having moved on from record heroin abuse to being ‘fentanyl foil city.’ However, trivializing such a dire situation by singing about, it or creating a catchphrase hook, is just insult added to injury at this point in the story. The story in which those with clear situational awareness are worried sick about their future. This isn’t a city-specific issue; this isn’t just happening in Eureka, and at least the fair Mayor helps pick up trash during local clean-up missions.
Right now Humboldt County is hiding countless filthy, needle-ridden, fentanyl foil-covered homeless encampments peppered throughout the terrain, occupying the once pristine green zones which are supposed to be stewarded and conserved from the ruins we see today. And just like how Humboldt County seems to hide behind the redwood curtain and often feels like living on an island, the thickest forests and miles of ocean seemingly can’t stop the demand for Fentanyl and other opioids.
Harm Reduction Can’t Seem to Save the Children
Across the nation, even on the Islands of Hawaii, Fentanyl is finding its way into the bloodstream of innocent children. The leading cause of death for children is currently poisoning by Fentanyl. While the trend of classic heroin abuse has indeed been declining, and subsequent needle litter discovered during cleanups has followed that downward trend as well, as explained by a local homeless man during a recent PacOut Green Team Clean Up behind Walmart in Eureka, the reality is that a portion of local opioid addicts have just moved on to abusing Fentanyl.
Follow me down this dark rabbit hole to the end, and you will see precisely where Fentanyl comes from, where it is manufactured, where the raw materials are obtained, and how it gets into the country and makes its way into your Humboldt neighborhood. You will see precisely what policies aid and abet this illicit drug trade and those who would rather sit on their hands – while innocent victims perish by the thousands – just to save face and prevent their political opponents from obtaining a ‘win.’
You must fully understand the situation to protect loved ones from becoming a statistic in this Local, State, and National epidemic. Hopefully, this information compels you to volunteer for a cleanup, write to your local, state, and federal representatives … or run for office yourself, if that’s how you roll.
Orange Cap County moves to Fentanyl Foil
To put things into perspective, based solely on local arrest reports released by Outpost, NCJ, T-S, from June 25, 2023, to the present, the Humboldt County Drug Task Force has confiscated 1225 grams (2.7 Lbs) of Fentanyl. These numbers result from nothing but local media reports; it is likely safe to assume they are very conservative and likely the tip of the iceberg. Even so, it takes 0.002 grams of Fentanyl to kill an adult.
It should be no surprise to hear that “Fentanyl-related drug poisoning deaths increased 363% in 2021 from 2020, accounting for 64% of all drug-poisoning deaths,” according to the official Humboldt County Substance Abuse Mortality Data Report. Based on our estimations by calculating the total of all reported quantities in our research, over the past three months, HCSO has seized enough Fentanyl to kill 612,350 adults. For reference, the 2020 census for the whole county: 136,463.
In 2022, approximately 10.14 Pounds of Fentanyl were seized, as reported by the Times-Standard. Even the brand new Health Officer has recently sounded the alarm, attributing this tragedy directly to “a list of 69 names” taken from our community from this deadly drug. Some were residents, some were guests, and all were tragically taken away from their families and friends by what the Yurok Tribe has recently deemed a full-blown emergency: Fentanyl.
Where does it come from?
According to Hawaii News Now, Fentanyl raw materials are shipped to clandestine laboratories in Mexico, where it is manufactured into the form HCSO finds on the streets of Humboldt County. The products are packaged and, when our border is closed and enforced, pass through ports of entry and are often apprehended.
While this system is in no way foolproof, many thousands of pounds of Fentanyl and other narcotics flow past Border Patrol Agents. Despite their best efforts to detect these drugs today, Border agents report alarming volumes now being diverted around the heavily guarded ports of entry through sections of the US Mexico Border where Trump’s Wall remains unfinished. What makes this even more interesting is that ‘Hawaii-Now’ was working on the report below due to Fentanyl’s deadly impact on the Island Community.
Fentanyl is the leading cause of Death for Americans 18 to 49
From Hawaii News Now:
The DEA, meanwhile, has focused on the Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels as driving most of the fentanyl flooding into the U.S. from Mexico, Administrator Anne Milgram said.
“Fentanyl has changed everything,” she said. “We are facing and confronting an ever-growing threat. It’s never been more deadly or dangerous.”
A synthetic opioid considered exponentially more addictive than heroin, fentanyl is now the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18 to 49. A tiny amount, 2 milligrams, ingested into the body can be fatal.
It costs less than a penny to buy the chemicals needed to make a lethal dose of fentanyl, making its potential availability “virtually limitless,” she said.
The drug is frequently mixed into the supplies of other drugs or pressed into counterfeit prescription pills, like oxycodone. Some people never know they are taking it.
More than 100,000 deaths a year have been linked to drug overdoses since 2020 in the U.S., about two-thirds of those are related to fentanyl. The death toll is more than ten times as many drug deaths as in 1988, at the height of the crack epidemic.
Open Borders, Fentanyl Epidemic, and Needle Vending Machines
In parallel with the typical California tradition, the Veterans Association saw all of the previously mentioned and thought they would solve the problem by providing hypodermic needles, safer snorting kits, heroine cooking kits, and other objects typically considered drug paraphernalia via a vending machine in the lobbies of their clinics.
Like every fire station in existence, when a fire is observed to be burning wildly out of control, the first thing they get is a gasoline hose and aim it at the vortex. These machines, marketed as “harm reduction” tools, can potentially prevent the transmission of bloodborne illnesses like HIV, and preventing that is a good cause.
However, given the leading cause of death in the USA is directly associated with Fentanyl, it’s likely a bad idea to provide the type of hardware those struggling with addiction would need to further their addiction. Meanwhile, their needle vending machines, HACHR, and their Needle Delivery Vans provide the very pickaxes and shovels this industry needs for the supply to keep formulating a demand. When you remove all obstacles for an illicit drug trade to infiltrate and devastate our communities, it is incumbent on us as citizens to rise to the occasion, address the root cause of the issue, and slay the dragon once and for all.
Failure of Leadership in City, County, State
California has the worst Fentanyl metrics of all states nationwide. However, what will likely come as even more of a surprise is that the Drug Poisoning Mortality Rate in Humboldt County was higher in 2021 than both the State and National averages. Effectively, every data metric available to date shows the trend heading in one direction, which is up. The devastation this epidemic is causing leads directly to untold stories of innocent children overdosing from exposure to Fentanyl left lying around by some irresponsible addict.
Meanwhile, in Humboldt County, we are expected to rely on the responsibility of addicts to make sure none of the items found in the VA Clinic Needle Vending Machine find their way onto the streets being used by nonveterans exclusively for recreational purposes. We are expected to rely on the same to make sure the items are being obtained by an addict who is seeking help, working on getting clean, and working toward a better future. However, this obvious firewall does not exist at the VA Clinic and other locations across California where these needle vending machines are being rolled out.
Tribes Affected the Worst, a Blind Eye Turned
Hypocrisy is the cornerstone of Humboldt County politics, where current members of the Board of Supervisors pat themselves on the back for having removed Alan Bongio for infamously using the word “Indians” to collectively refer back to the local tribes in a heated Planning Commission meeting. Meanwhile, the same Board of Supervisors sits on their hands while Needle Vending Machines are rolled out in the local VA clinic.
The HACHR van cruises around the County, handing out 100 times the needles they take in despite being marketed as a needle exchange program. At the same time, the Yurok Tribe sounds the alarm about the Fentanyl and Heroin epidemic sweeping across their community.
When a policy works a little, the circle jerk-back pat session can be heard from the mountains of Humboldt County to the Valley of Redding and Sacramento. Still, when a policy produces nothing but pain, suffering, environmental disaster, and endless liabilities, everyone remains silent until it’s time to point the finger.
Sanctuary Policies Are A Failure of Every Measure
Hopefully, our elected leaders will read this and realize the time has come for them to point their fingers uphill where the most monumental act of complete hypocrisy unfolds. It has been reported that Gavin Newsom has sent the National Guard to the California-Mexico border to help secure it in direct reaction to the mounting fentanyl epidemic. The same voice of Democratic leadership who so proudly defamed the Border Wall and a strict Border policy as racist, insensitive, and against his policy of being a sanctuary state has seemingly come crashing head first against the brick wall of reality.
Unfortunately, this is too little of an effort far too late, and the net effect of increasing security at points of entry only strengthens the demand for human traffickers to smuggle drugs and people across the border – undetected out in the middle of nowhere, safe from the measures Newsom is scrambling to put in place.
On the heels of Republican leaders fuming about the immediate pivot from the Trump Administration Immigration Policy by the Biden Administration with daily conservative media coverage of the apparent invasion at our southern border through unsecured zones, Newsom has the genius idea to increase security at the Ports of Entry to keep the honest criminals out, assumably.
Meanwhile, for everyone who can discern basic logic, what exactly do you expect if you lock the front door to your house and stand on the front porch with a gun and your dog while your fence is not complete and your backdoor wide open?
So what will you do, Humboldt?
Aaron Ostrom of PacOut Green Team, Ruthie Jones of Humboldt Realtors Association, and Mike Shelter of New Directions are working with volunteers like James Graham to clean up the fentanyl foil, hypodermic needles, and all the other trash that is left in once pristine green zones. I recently met James at a cleanup behind Walmart in Eureka to get a first-hand look.
This was my second tour through a Humboldt County green zone occupied by homeless folks without other options. A few weeks previously, I caught Mike Shelter, who gave me a tour of a multiple campsite area where a fire had alerted authorities, eventually leading to the County levying fines against the property owner. Shelter examined that these property owners, in turn, hired his company to come in and haul out the trash.
Everyone has their way of doing things in this world, and without a doubt, Shelter and Ostrom are both making a huge impact. While PacOut is entirely volunteer-based with a program to trade new socks for pre-bagged trash the homeless clean and prepare themselves, New Directions hires homeless folks to help him clean up the campsites where the trash has reached a breaking point.
Volunteers Making an Impact, But We Need More Help
All this work is being done with the significant population of Humboldt County seemingly not knowing. Furthermore, the Fentanyl situation is so out of control in Humboldt County that a homeless man I interviewed at the recent PacOut behind Walmart explained the reason we were not finding as many needles as in the past is because most people are smoking Fentanyl on small bits of aluminum foil.
Freebasing fentanyl on aluminum foil produces a dark burn mark where soot from the lighter builds up on the foil and where the foil becomes damaged from the fire itself. In the interview below, you will see precisely how littered the campsite where he had been sleeping was.
When I approached the tent, it appeared unoccupied, so I began filming because there were so many needles visible it was shocking. When I got closer, the man groaned from inside the tent, curled against the corner to shield himself from the previous night’s rain. Later, he explained to me that he hadn’t seen the needles and had discovered the tent in the middle of the night, and since it was empty, he curled into the spot I had found him to try to stay warm and dry.
Biden Economy is Bad, But Things Could Be Worse
So, as the massive lot of us go about our lives complaining about how tough things are in this Biden Economy, we need to reflect on exactly how much we still have to be grateful for in contrast to how bad it could be. We have brothers and sisters sleeping in the cold rain beside used needles and fentanyl foil.
Babies are dying nationwide due to accidentally finding Fentanyl lying around, Police Officers are risking their lives, nearly overdosing on accident every week, and the leading cause of death for adults 18 to 49 in the good ole U-S-A is opioid overdose.
The border is wide open; fools are still pretending “sanctuary states” can exist in the same breath they are sending the National Guard to the border predicated on this issue. It’s time we do something about this, make some hard decisions, and shut down these so-called “harm reduction” projects so they stop helping the cause of so much harm.
I am old enough to remember when every single death that mounted during the Trump Administration was counted directly against Trump; however, during the Biden Administration, not only have we observed the Mainstream Media drop the Covid Death Counter but also remained silent as to exactly how the Democrat establishment et al is directly responsible for this catastrophe due to their hard left policy decisions.
Why don’t we see a Fentanyl Death Counter next to Biden and his team’s mugshots? Most often, these policies are based on the best of intentions; however, it is often the glorification of our compassion that blinds us to the dire repercussions of our actions.
Fentanyl Arrests as Reported – June 25th to Oct 1st 2023
|Fentanyl Related Arrests as Reported June 25th to October 1st 2023
|October 1, 2023
|Ellis and Strange were both taken into custody without incident. During a search of Ellis, deputies located approximately 3.2 grams of methamphetamine, .7 grams of fentanyl and drug paraphernalia.
|September 14, 2023
|Inside the residence, Agents located Kirk Thurston, 41 years old of Redway. Agents searched the residence and located 4 grams of methamphetamine, 4 grams of fentanyl, packaging materials, a digital scale, four firearms (two of which were assault weapons), ammunition, and one Billy club.
|September 2, 2023
|During a search of Lampley, deputies located over 1 gram of methamphetamine and over 1 gram of suspected fentanyl.
|July 6, 2023
|Mikal (Mike) Eugene Anderson was born to Gene and Kathy Anderson in Sacramento on December 1, 1972. Sadly he passed away from a broken heart and Fentanyl overdose on July 6, 2023.
|August 29, 2023
|During a search of the vehicle, deputies located over 40 grams of suspected fentanyl, drug paraphernalia and items consistent with the sale of controlled substances.
|August 19th, 2023
|Inside the vehicle Agents located FOURNIER, 1.5 pounds of methamphetamine, 55 grams of Fentanyl, and one functioning digital scale.
|August 16, 2023
|She was later identified as 34-year-old Ruby Cheryl Loureiro. Loureiro was found to have an outstanding felony warrant for her arrest. Additionally, deputies observed drug paraphernalia in plain view inside the vehicle. During a search of Ruby and the vehicle incident to arrest, deputies located over 6 grams of suspected fentanyl and drug paraphernalia.
|August 16th, 2023
|Once the scene was secure, Agents searched the residence and located one firearm, 10 grams of fentanyl, 6 grams of methamphetamine, 5 Suboxone strips, 18 Perc-30 pills, a small amount of unknown pills, scales, packaging materials, and indicia of drug sales.
|August 15th, 2023
|Inside the vehicle, Agents located Ryan Coons and Shawn Clinton Bartley (52 years old from McKinleyville). Agents also located 1.8 pounds of fentanyl, 1 kilo of methamphetamine, over 100 Alprazolam pills, approximately $4,000 in U.S. Currency, digital scales, and packaging materials.
|August 9, 2023
|The occupant of the vehicle, 42-year-old Kathlene Crystal Mellon, was found to be asleep in the driver’s seat with drug paraphernalia in plain view. Deputies woke Mellon and conducted a search of her person and vehicle. During their search, deputies located approximately 7.3 ounces of suspected fentanyl, over 3 grams of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and pepper spray.
|August 11, 2023
|Smith was detained and a search of her person and the vehicle was conducted incident to arrest. While searching, deputies located 25 grams of fentanyl, approximately .54 grams of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.
|August 1st, 2023
|Agents searched Silva Lovfald’s person and vehicle. Agents located approximately 1 ounce of fentanyl, a digital scale, and a non-serialized “Lifecard” .22 magnum handgun. The firearm was the size and shape of a credit card that unfolded into a functional single shot handgun.
|July 1, 2023
|K9 Bohdi alerted to the back seat of the vehicle where Bean was sitting, indicating drugs and/or firearms were present. HCDTF Agents searched the area that Bean was seated in the vehicle and located ¼ pound of fentanyl, 550 Xanax bars, 10 grams of heroin, 10 grams of methamphetamine, packaging materials, and a digital scale.
|July 23, 2023
|During a search of Milligan and the vehicle, deputies located the victim’s stolen purse, approximately 6 grams of methamphetamine, 4 grams of fentanyl and drug paraphernalia.
|July 11th, 2023
|Once the scene was secure, HCDTF Agents searched the residence and located 3 ½ ounces of fentanyl, ¼ ounce of methamphetamine, digital scales, packaging material, metal knuckles, a large cannister of pepper spray, and approximately $8,000 in US Currency. All items were collected as evidence and the US Currency was seized as asset forfeiture.
|July 10, 2023
|Agents searched the areas that K9 Rex had alerted to and located two semi-automatic 9mm handguns, multiple rounds of live ammunition, homemade explosives, ballistic body armor, ¼ ounce of fentanyl, 3 grams of methamphetamine, digital scales and a CA Exempt license plate belonging to a Humboldt County owned vehicle.
|July 4th, 2023
|During a search of Payton’s residence Agents located 600 fentanyl “Perc 30” pills, over a 1/4 ounce of fentanyl powder, digital scales, packaging materials, and a non-serialized .40 caliber handgun.
|June 25, 2023
|While searching the vehicle, deputies located over 2 grams of suspected fentanyl, over 1 gram of methamphetamine, approximately 0.46 grams of heroin, various drug paraphernalia, bear mace and a driver’s license that had been reported stolen in a recent vehicle burglary.
|In a 13-page filing, the Medical Board’s interim executive director, Reji Varghese, says Smith is guilty of negligence and/or incompetence for prescribing “dangerous drugs” such as morphine, oxycodone and diazepam in “extremely high amounts” without documenting patient history, physical exams, treatment plans, toxicology testing or her rationale for handing out such high doses. He is asking the Attorney General’s Office to revoke her physician’s and surgeon’s certificate. The allegations against Dr. Smith come less than two years after her husband, former K’ima:w CEO and fellow primary care physician Dr. Emmett Chase, faced similar accusations from the state medical board. Specifically, he was charged with prescribing “dangerous drugs” such as fentanyl, Norco and Dilaudid in “extremely high amounts” without meaningful patient assessments, documentation or rationale.—”I think that was the beginning of when fentanyl was coming in,” she said, adding that when patients could no longer get their prescriptions filled, they sometimes turned to heroin. “Now, I understand, fentanyl is the choice of street drug.”
Asked if the community is still seeing a lot of overdose deaths, Norton said yes. “I talked with the ambulance director a couple months ago. He has given a report to the tribal council [showing] that we’re seeing more and more calls for young people overdosing.”
|Yurok Tribe Declares Emergency in Response to Surge in Fentanyl Overdoses — In 2021, the most recent year for which data is available, tribal citizens in Del Norte County required emergency services for fentanyl overdoses at a rate of 54.49 per 100,000 residents compared to 5.87 per 100,000 white residents. In Humboldt County, the fentanyl-related overdose death rate for Native people was 114.99 per 100,000. For white residents, the rate was 23.80 per 100,000.
|On Tuesday, the Humboldt County Drug Task Force arrested three people and seized thousands of pills in the biggest fentanyl bust in the county’s history. — The task force raided three locations — two in Eureka and one in Arcata — and confiscated a total of 15,000 “M30” fentanyl pills, $3,600 and nine firearms. The investigation, which began in September 2021, resulted in the arrests of three Humboldt County men: Robert Moorehead, who police believe led the operation, and his alleged co-conspirators James Bingham and Richard West.
|As I write this, I am looking at a list of 69 names. Sixty-four Humboldt County residents and five visitors. All who died from fentanyl in 2022. It probably isn’t a complete list, because we won’t have the final reports from December for a few more weeks. You might be picturing them in your head right now, but that picture probably isn’t accurate.
|he Humboldt County Drug Task Force released their annual report this week detailing seizures of drugs, money and guns in 2022. Methamphetamine remained at the top of the list for pounds seized, with 45.64 pounds — almost 20 pounds greater than last year’s haul — confiscated by the task force. Trailing meth, 10.14 pounds of fentanyl were seized.The total street value of all confiscated drugs amounted to $2,040,131.25.
|Sep 7, 2023
|California is continuing its crackdown on fentanyl being smuggled into the United States. Governor Newsom announced Thursday that the California National Guard will play an even larger role in this ongoing fight. Twenty additional Cal Guard soldiers will be placed at the four ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border, including San Ysidro. So far this year, 93 percent of all fentanyl seizures have taken place at legal crossing points or vehicle checkpoints, which is where these additional guard troops will be targeting their efforts.
|Sep 19, 2023
|A traffic stop Friday for speeding led to a St. Johns County deputy and a U.S. Border Patrol Agent discovering kilos of fentanyl, meth and firearms, according to an arrest report.
|Sep 21, 2023
|Amid a deadly fentanyl crisis and a U.S. government campaign to crack down on supply chains, CBS Reports goes into a cartel stronghold in Mexico to uncover what’s behind the surge in fentanyl trafficking and why America is failing to stop it. Watch more CBS Reports documentaries that dive into the key issues driving the national and global conversation
|Oct 2, 2023
|First responders are being called to overdoses daily in Hawaii as fentanyl takes hold across the state. And stopping the drug pipeline won’t be easy