LACONIA NH July 2 2017 — A 26-year-old Laconia man has been indicted on a charge of possessing carfentanil, a dangerous synthetic opioid used to sedate large animals like elephants.
The drug is so powerful that concerns have been raised by first responders that they could be harmed by accidental exposure unless they wear gloves and a mask. The drug has been implicated in six overdose deaths in New Hampshire, including that of a Meredith man.
Belknap County Sheriff Mike Moyer said in a news release Friday that Joseph R. Marquis was indicted by a Belknap County Superior Court Grand Jury on June 22. Marquis also faces a charge of attempted delivery of articles to a prisoner.
The charges arise from an incident that occurred on April 11 at a Belknap County Superior Court security checkpoint. Marquis went to court that day to plead guilty to a charge of possession of narcotics. He had been arrested in a December drug sweep and agreed to an arranged plea that included a sentence in the New Hampshire State Prison.
Marquis was stopped by court security at a metal detector “for having potentially prohibited items on his body and presenting signs of being intoxicated on drugs,” the news release said. Security officers found what appeared to be illicit drugs on him.
The substance was sent to the laboratory for testing, and it was identified as 1.1 grams of carfentanil, the release said.
Carfentanil is related to, but 100 times more powerful than, fentanyl, which itself is a drug responsible for most of the state's 500 overdose deaths last year.
In December, Marquis was one of a dozen people arrested, mostly in the Laconia area, in a drug sweep that came after an investigation involving an undercover police officer.
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