Jones-Sawyer Bill to Combat Criminal Activities of the Opioid Epidemic Passes Assembly

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

(Sacramento - May 29, 2018) – Today the State Assembly voted 68-01 to approve Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer’s (D- South Los Angeles) legislation that would add fentanyl to the list of drug offenses for which a wiretap may be authorized. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid pain medication, which is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and is one of the major causes of the opioid epidemic.

“In March of 2015 the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a nationwide alert on fentanyl as a threat to health and public safety,” said Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer. “AB 1948 would give law enforcement another tool to use to crack down on the traffickers of this deadly opioid.”

Law enforcement authorities are seeing an increase in fentanyl drug trafficking because of its extreme profitability. Unlike heroin, which requires opium poppies to produce, fentanyl is synthesized in a laboratory and can be easily manufactured by a chemist. The interception of wire and electronic communications is the ideal tool to investigate, infiltrate, dismantle, and prosecute drug trafficking organizations.

“There is no more powerful and irrefutable evidence that can be presented in court than the very words of the defendant describing his or her involvement in the charged crime,” said Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey. “I applaud Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer and his efforts to assist law enforcement authorities who are combating the criminal aspect of the opioid epidemic.”

More Californians die from drug poisoning each year than die in car accidents and more than twice as many Californians die of drug overdoses than murder. California must find a way to dismantle the production and distribution of this lethal opioid.   

AB 1948 now heads to the California State Senate.