BERNIE, MO (KAIT) -What started as a shoplifting arrest ended with Stoddard County’s first-ever case of powdered fentanyl.
On Monday, Lt. Roy Boyce of the Bernie Police Department responded to a shoplifting call at Dollar General, 721 S. Walnut St.
Boyce found the alleged suspect, 37-year-old Tanya Nchole Rankin of Cape Girardeau, in the greeting card aisle. She was soaking wet, pushing a loaded shopping cart. He also noticed “her speech was slurred and her eyes were watery.”
Rankin denied she was shoplifting but, according to the probable cause affidavit, told the officer she only had $12.
While she was looking for identification, Boyce stated seeing a white capsule in her wallet.
When the officer asked about the capsule, Rankin reportedly told him it was fentanyl.
Boyce arrested Rankin and placed her into handcuffs. He then searched through her unzipped wallet and found six more capsules, a plastic straw, and a white powder residue, the court document stated.
He took Rankin to the city jail where she was booked on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance. She’s being held on a $7,500 cash-only bond.
Chief Justin K. Allen said it is the first case in Stoddard County of fentanyl in its powdered form.
Typically, it comes in a solid or liquid form.
“Fentanyl powder is even more dangerous than regular fentanyl due to it vast mobility and granular nature,” Allen said in a news release. “When in its powdered form, fentanyl is not contained in one area, making accidental exposure far more likely than when dealing with the fentanyl patch.”
He stated that according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, the drug is up to 100 times stronger than morphine and, according to the Centers for Disease Control, responsible for more than 28,400 overdose deaths in 2017.