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Bismarck police find 2,000 illegal pills in Michigan man's motel room

Bismarck police find 2,000 illegal pills in Michigan man's motel room

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A Michigan man is in custody after police found in his Bismarck motel room 2,000 pills that resembled oxycodone but authorities say may be made of the much stronger drug fentanyl.

Metro Area Narcotics Task Force officers on Saturday executed a search warrant at a room where Barry Brown Jr., 28, of Taylor, Michigan, had paid cash for six nights’ lodging, according to an affidavit. The pills were in four plastic bags inside a tissue box. They also found $24,000 cash wrapped in rubber bands behind the motel room refrigerator. Brown was not in the room at the time of the search.

Police arrested Brown early Sunday morning after watching him enter and leave the motel. He had $42,000 cash with him, police said.

Information gathered during the investigation leads police to believe “there is a strong likelihood” that the pills are fentanyl, police said in the affidavit.

Fentanyl is the most potent of all opioid drugs, according to American Addiction Centers website. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, and morphine is 1 ½ times more potent than oxycodone, the center said.

Fentanyl can be diluted with cutting agents to create counterfeit pills that are typically cheaper than real oxycodone, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration website. Small variations in the amount or quality of fentanyl can affect the potency and raise the danger of overdoses. Fentanyl has become the leading cause of drug overdose deaths in the U.S., the agency said.

Brown made his initial court appearance Monday. An attorney isn't listed for him in court documents.

Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com

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