Traffic stop leads to seizure of enough fentanyl to kill nearly 40,000 people

AVON PARK -- A traffic stop in Avon Park on Sunday led to one of the largest drug seizures in recent memory for the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies confiscated enough fentanyl to kill nearly 40,000 people, as well as over a pound of heroin and nearly a pound of cocaine.

Around 7:40 p.m., Deputy Seth Abeln saw a blue Ford Focus on North Central Avenue that had a tag light out. After Abeln stopped the vehicle, Deputy Ben Jones and K-9 Gentry were called to do a free air sniff of the vehicle. Gentry indicated there were drugs in the car. 

A search of the vehicle turned up a staggering amount of narcotics:

    • 554 grams of heroin
    • 450 grams of cocaine
    • 99.6 grams of fentanyl
    • 975 oxycodone pills
    • 107 Xanax pills
    • 90 vape pens with liquid THCRuben Ramirez-Rivera
A dose of 2-3 milligrams of fentanyl is enough to be deadly, meaning there was enough of the drug to kill 40,000 people using 2.5 milligrams as a fatal dose. To put that in
The street value of the fentanyl is $15,000. Add that to the $20,000 of cocaine, $40,000 of oxycodone and $45,000 of heroin, and the total seizure is worth $120,000 on the street, not perspective, that would be enough to kill nearly 40 percent of the people in Highlands County. 

 including the value of the vape pens. 

There was also a loaded handgun inside the car. The driver, 40-year-old Ruben Ramirez-Rivera, was arrested and charged with:

  • trafficking cocaine
  • trafficking heroin
  • trafficking oxycodone
  • trafficking a controlled substance 
  • possession of opium or a derivative (fentanyl) with intent to sell/deliver
  • possession of a Schedule III or IV drug with intent to sell/deliver
  • possession of heroin with intent to sell/deliver
  • possession of cocaine with intent to sell/deliver
  • felony possession of marijuana
  • possession of a weapon during commission of a first-degree felony
  • possession of drug equipment
Rivera is being held without bond at the Highlands County Jail. 

“I’m very proud of the work done by the deputies involved in this arrest,” Sheriff Paul Blackman said. “To take this amount of drugs off the street is a huge accomplishment, and our county is safer because of it.”

Drugs and gun seized on traffic stop
Drugs and gun seized during the traffic stop.