Late last week, Mexican law enforcement officials seized 100 pounds of the synthetic opioid fentanyl, one of the most lethal drugs in existence, in a vehicle approximately 30 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Mexican police say they intercepted the shipment — which also contained 14 pounds of meth, 88 pounds of cocaine and 18.5 pounds of heroin — close to the city of Ensenada in Baja California last Thursday, the Associated Press reported. Ensenada is just 30 miles south of the Mexican border city of Tijuana, the most likely destination for the drugs seized by Mexican authorities.

Fentanyl facts:

  • CNN: "A dose as small as a quarter of a milligram can be fatal."
  • DEA: "It is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin."
  • DEA: "Fentanyl is often mixed with heroin to increase potency, but dealers and buyers may not know exactly what they are selling or ingesting. Many users underestimate the potency of fentanyl, significantly raising the risk of overdose."

The amount of fentanyl seized by Mexican officials is enough to kill anywhere from 17.5 million to 19.1 million people, according to two estimates. The first estimate came from New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, who said that 100 pounds of fentanyl is enough to "kill the entire populations of New Jersey and New York City combined [approximately 17.5 million]." The second estimate came from prosecutors who said that 4.5 pounds of fentanyl was enough to kill a city of 860,000, which when multiplied out to account for 100 pounds of fentanyl equates to 19.1 million deaths.