The women were identified as driver Selena Castillo, 19, of Mexico and Jacqueline de Avila Montoya, 23, of California. Two children in the car – a 1-year-old boy and a 3-year-old girl - were placed in the custody of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.
Castillo and Montoya were charged with two counts each of possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture, deliver or sell. They are being held in the Fayette County Jail.
A Memphis police officer assigned to the West Tennessee Violent Crime and Drug Task Force (WTDTF) stopped their 2016 Toyota Corolla for speeding at around 7:15 a.m. Thursday on eastbound I-40 at the 27-mile marker five miles east of Airline Road in Fayette County.
After agents were given consent to search the vehicle, 12.8 pounds of Fentanyl and 4.8 pounds of heroin were found hidden in the lining of the trunk.
The street value of the drugs is estimated to be at least $500,000, according to Tim Helldorfer, director of the drug task force.
The women said they were traveling from California to a destination in New Jersey.
Fentanyl is a highly potent opioid that is up to 100 times stronger than morphine and many times stronger than heroin, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The WTDTF is a joint agency comprised of more than 40 law enforcement officers assigned from various agencies in three West Tennessee judicial districts.
Of those officers, six work solely for the Task Force and are not assigned from separate law enforcement agencies.
The judicial districts include the 28th (Crockett, Gibson, and Haywood Counties); the 29th (Dyer and Lake Counties); and the 30th (Shelby County).
The Shelby County DA’s Office administers the Task Force.