INDIO (CNS) – A 20-year-old man accused of hauling large quantities of
methamphetamine and fentanyl into Riverside County will ask a judge today
to consider lowering his bail so he can get out of jail.
Joshua Lamar Chamberlain was arrested last month by U.S. Border Patrol
agents in Indio following a traffic stop on Interstate 10.
Chamberlain is charged with distribution of controlled substances,
transportation of illegal narcotics and two counts of possession of controlled
substances for sale, with sentence-enhancing allegations of possessing in
excess of 20 kilograms of illegal drugs.
The defendant is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Smith
Correctional Facility in Banning.
During his arraignment June 29 at the Larson Justice Center in Indio,
Chamberlain’s public defender requested a bail-setting hearing before Superior
Court Judge Dale Wells.
According to the Border Patrol, on the afternoon of June 24, agents
conducting an anti-drug smuggling operation on I-10 stopped Chamberlain in his
2006 Hyundai Santa Fe near the Golf Center Parkway off-ramp.
A K-9 unit was deployed to search the vehicle, and the dog alerted to
two black gym bags, according to agents.
The items were searched, netting 19 packages of meth, with an
estimated street value of $126,630, along with seven packages of fentanyl,
valued at $268,297, the Border Patrol said.
Chamberlain was taken into custody without incident. He has no
documented prior felony or misdemeanor convictions in Riverside County.
Fentanyl is manufactured in overseas labs, including in China, and
according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, it’s smuggled across the
U.S.-Mexico border by drug cartels. The substance is 80-100 times more potent
than morphine and is a popular additive, mixed into any number of narcotics and
pharmaceuticals. The ingestion of only two milligrams can be fatal.
District Attorney Mike Hestrin told the Board of Supervisors last
month that there were nearly 500 fentanyl-induced deaths countywide in 2021,
which represents a 250-fold increase from 2016, when only two such fatalities
Statistics published in May by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention showed there were roughly 108,000 fatal drug overdoses in 2021,
and fentanyl poisoning accounted for over 80,000 of them.
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