‘Crazy dangerous’ drug used on elephants put teen in hospital
A Kansas City man was sentenced Friday to 15 years in federal prison for possessing a synthetic opioid after a teenager who ingested half of one pill nearly died from an overdose.
Gage S. Lankas, 21, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Kansas City in October to possession with the intent to distribute carfentanil, which is far more potent than fentanyl, heroin or morphine.
Federal authorities began investigating Lankas in August 2017 after a 17-year-old Grain Valley resident had to be rushed to a hospital after a drug overdose.
The teen survived and told authorities that he thought the pill he had crushed and snorted was oxycodone, but it actually contained carfentanil.
At the teen’s home, officers found 375 pills stamped “XANAX” on one side and a sideways “2” on the other. They also found some other pills stamped “A215.”
The teenage told officers he acquired the pills from Lankas, whom he met in Westport. When he returned home, the teen said he took a few of the Xanax pills and snorted half of an “A215” pill, which he thought was oxycodone.
He immediately blacked out and did not remember anything except waking up and passing out again in the ambulance. He told officers he had snorted oxycodone before and could not understand his reaction, according to federal authorities.
Carfentanil is used to tranquilize large mammals like elephants and horses. And in a warning to law officers around the country, the Drug Enforcement Administration has described it as “crazy dangerous.”
A dose of carfentanil is about 100 times as potent as the same dose of fentanyl and 5,000 times more powerful than the same amount of heroin.
Lankas told investigators that he had bought the drugs on the dark web.