WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Pressed pills laced with or made entirely of fentanyl are a growing concern for law enforcement, highlighted by the potentially life-saving results of a recent Williamson County traffic stop.

On Tuesday morning, Williamson County Deputy Shaun Stein saw a Cadillac driving very slowly and being passed by multiple cars along Interstate 840 East.

The deputy pulled behind the Cadillac about the same time the Cadillac pulled off the highway. Stein was wearing a body camera as he questioned the driver, Kevin Allen Riconoscuito, and his passenger.

The men told the deputy they had been driving from Washington state and they were heading to Athens to meet up with Riconoscuito’s wife.

Stein immediately determined the license tags were expired on the car, which was registered to someone other than Riconoscuito. In addition, Riconoscuito initially handed the deputy a license with another person’s information.

Once the driver was out of the car, Stein asked Riconoscuito about the bill of sale.

The 41-year-old Washington man said he had it, but it was somewhere in a backpack in the back of the car, indicating it would be difficult to locate. However, he insisted he had just bought the vehicle.

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When the deputy said the driver had to prove it was his vehicle, Riconoscuito argued the car was not stolen.

Stein asked Riconoscuito if he had any weapons, to which the driver replied, “Maybe a hunting rifle in the trunk way in the back.”

After a few more minutes, the deputy brought out K9 Jasper to sniff around the car. The dog almost immediately stopped on the rear of the Cadillac.

(Courtesy: Williamson County Sheriff’s Office)

The men were detained as authorities began a search. Stein asked if they had any cocaine, heroin, meth, or marijuana, but Riconoscuito answered “no” to each drug.

Then, once the men were placed in the squad car, the deputy found a black bag by the tire of the Cadillac. According to investigators, Riconoscuito sneakily dropped in on the ground during the stop.

When Stein opened the bag, he found drugs in baggies inside of locked cannisters. Those drugs included crystal meth, cocaine, and 292 blue fentanyl pills disguised as other pharmaceutical pills.

Lt. Chris Mobley with the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office said he believes the seizure of the drugs — more specifically, the fentanyl — may have saved lives.

“Fentanyl has become a huge problem with regards to overdoses. Two hundred and ninety something fentanyl pills, definitely saved quite a bit of lives,” Mobley said. “Especially when they’re masked as pills, people are inadvertently taking them as prescription medication.”

Later in the stop, Riconoscuito told investigators he ingested meth and some of the blue pills, adding that he might come down soon and get sick.

In the end, authorities seized a table load of contraband, including the following:

  • Multiple weapons
  • Loaded drum magazine
  • More than 100 rounds of ammo
  • Credit card skimmer
  • Over a dozen fraudulent checks
  • Eight cell phones

“They’ll definitely go through the phones, do a forensic analysis of the phones, and try to determine, for one, do they belong to this guy? Are they other people’s phones? Are they being used in fraud in some sort of way?” Mobley added.

Investigators told News 2 that Riconoscuito has a long criminal history out of Washington state that includes felony assault and trafficking in stolen property