A traffic stop Sunday on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in southern Berks County led to the discovery of about 22 pounds of the synthetic opioid fentanyl in the trunk of the car and the arrest of the New York City driver, state police said Monday.
Investigators provided this account in the criminal complaint:
A trooper from the Bowmansville, Lancaster County station, was along eastbound Interstate 76 near the Morgantown exchange in Caernarvon Township monitoring traffic about 9 a.m. when he saw a car with dark window tinting that prevented him from seeing inside it.
He turned on his lights and siren and stopped the car. He noticed the driver, Eliessel Gutierrez, 41, was extremely nervous and behaving deceptively.
When he entered Gutierrez’s name in a law enforcement database, it showed five arrests in New York for marijuana trafficking.
The trooper called for assistance from a K-9 unit. Another trooper brought his narcotics-detection dog, and the dog gave a positive signal for illegal drugs in the vehicle.
Troopers found just over 22 pounds in a box in the trunk.
Gutierrez was committed to Berks County Prison in lieu of $150,000 bail following arraignment before District Judge Michael G. Hartman in Reading Central Court.
Gutierrez faces charges of possessing and intending to deliver fentanyl, possessing drug paraphernalia and improper sunscreening of a vehicle.
Fentanyl, which is often mixed with heroin, cocaine and other drugs, has been linked to hundreds of accidental fatal overdoses in Berks County over the past few years alone.