Spokane Police find 40,000 fentanyl pills, meth while responding to drive-by shooting

SPOKANE, Wash. – Spokane Police confiscated a substantial amount of drugs and thousands of dollars in counterfeit money while responding to a drive-by shooting earlier this month. 

Officers found an estimated 40,000 fentanyl pills and nine kilos of methamphetamine in the backpack and a cat litter bucket. 

“We’re just experiencing volumes of narcotics. I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Lt. Rob Boothe with Spokane Police. “Now it’s a routine to get multiple kilos of either methamphetamines, heroin and now the big thing being all these fentanyl-laced Mexi pills.”

The investigation started with a shooting near Nettleton and Rowan on the evening of February 6. Police said several cars were involved and officers found shell casings in the street.

An officer noticed a stalled vehicle at Ash and Francis shortly after, then saw two men run away with a backpack and a five-gallon bucket. They were abandoned while the men jumped over a seven-foot fence. 

One man dropped the bag and bucket where police discovered the drugs.

“This is a large amount, but the problem is more and more seizures of this quantity,” Boothe said. “The bulk amount of methamphetamine — if that’s going to get cut down then distributed is more likely than not.”

Boothe says Spokane is a thoroughfare, as drugs can travel on I-90 and go to different areas. He believes the pills, due to how much they found, were going to be broken down into smaller purchases.

“One time can be a lethal event,” Boothe said. “Imagine a penny and you cover up Lincoln’s nose — that is a lethal amount of fentanyl.”

The impact on the community is huge. In 2020, the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office reported 125 people died of a drug overdose in the county.

With some drugs off the street, police hope it will have a positive effect on the community.

“Our biggest thing we can do is hold the line and keep people safe and make people aware,” Boothe said. “Hopefully it impacts — where our community becomes educated about it. To realize that it’s not just an isolated problem. That it’s a community problem.”

Though he says it’s also a community problem, Boothe explained that it’s hard to make a dent in the issue on their end.

“It all comes down to as long as people want to ingest narcotics and they’re willing to pay for it, they’re going to be there,” he said. “Every single pill that we’re able to take is on life saved.”

Police have yet to locate the people or person responsible but are working with the Drug Enforcement Administration to make an arrest.

READ: Man found dead on side of the road in Spokane Valley