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Two arrested on fentanyl drug charges in Austin amid opioid overdose spike

Shannon Jyquis Wilson (left) and Tyiesha Nicole Banks are facing drug charges after fentanyl-laced pills were found in the car they were in this month. (APD)

Just weeks after a string of drug overdoses left three dead in downtown Austin, two people were arrested with drug charges tied to fentanyl-laced pills found in a car they were in last week, according to Austin police.

Shannon Jyquis Wilson, 27, who an Austin police officer said is a "known narcotics dealer," and Tyiesha Nicole Banks, 28, were pulled over with around 1.25 pounds of fentanyl pills on East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard March 17.

According to an affidavit, APD ran a check on Wilson's driver's license to see if it was valid as he entered and left a gas station.

When they say it was invalid, police and FBI agents then pulled the two over and said they smelled marijuana in the vehicle. Banks admitted to having marijuana in her purse, and officers then found a 9mm handgun with a full magazine and bullet in the chamber inside as well.

APD found the drug in "orange and multicolored pills" in three bags after searching the vehicle. The pills tested "presumptive positive" for fentanyl in a field test and formally tested positive Wednesday.

Fentanyl is a powerful opiod that is up to 100 times stronger than morphine but cheaper than many other illicit drugs, like heroin. Some cost-cutting dealers appear to lace the less-expensive drug into other substances—a practice that has contributed to a spike in fentanyl deaths in Texas, according to Gov. Greg Abbott.

It's cost the lives of many: three people died and 12 others were hospitalized near Sixth Street in one night alone after overdosing on pills laced with fentanyl and other illicit substances including cocaine and methamphetamine (a previous estimate thought the fatal drug was Xylazine, another opioid.)

Austin saw a 200% spike in fentanyl-related deaths in 2021, a statistic which included Texas Longhorns football player Jake Ehlinger and a Cedar Park teenager, among others.

The affidavit said Banks admitted to knowing the pills were in the car but said she didn't know the gun was in her purse, while Wilson denied knowledge of either.

Banks and Wilson, who has three prior charges for possession of a controlled substance, could face a first-degree felony with charges of manufacturing and delivering a controlled substance. Both have since bonded out of the Travis County jail.


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