Local police warn of fentanyl packaged in pill form

Blue fentanyl-laced pills recovered by Wenatchee Valley law enforcement. (Source: Columbia River Drug Task Force)

WENATCHEE — Wenatchee Valley police agencies say there’s a new and dangerous form of fentanyl circulating on the streets.

Known as Perc-30, the blue pills have recently been found in drug searches and overdose scenes. The Columbia River Drug Task Force, a multi-agency team that investigates narcotics crimes in the area, says each pill can contain unpredictable quantities of the powerful painkiller. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid known to be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.

Wenatchee police first encountered the pills after the arrest Aug. 4 of Randall Curtis Phillips, 32, of Wenatchee, who allegedly was driving impaired and admitted possessing a large amount of drugs in a safe he carried in his vehicle. Court records in Phillps’ arrest show a Wenatchee patrol officer fell ill from opioid exposure while trying to pry the safe open under a judge’s warrant, and had to be treated with Narcan and briefly hospitalized.

The safe allegedly contained hundreds of pills, including about a dozen of the Perc-30 tablets as well as heroin, methampetamine and the mood stabilizer alprazolam. Phillips now faces multiple likely charges of drug possession with intent to deliver.

On Thursday, East Wenatchee Police Chief Rick Johnson told NCWLIFE his officers recently found more of the Perc-30 pills at the scene of a fatal overdose.