Prescription drugs

Authorities seize $20 million worth of fentanyl disguised as prescription drugs from notorious cartel

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on July 5 seized approximately $20 million worth of fentanyl-containing pills believed to be linked to Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel, according to a DEA press release.

The seizure, carried out by the DEA’s Los Angeles Field Division High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Group 48, seized 1 million pills containing fentanyl, according to the news release. It was the largest fentanyl pill bust ever by the DEA in California. (RELATED: DEA Warns Law Enforcement to Prepare for Increase in Fentanyl ‘Massive Overdose Events’)

“These fake pills are designed to resemble real prescription pills down to size, shape, color and stamping,” the DEA said in its press release. “These fake pills usually replicate real prescription opioid medications.”

Prior to the seizure, DEA agents found drug couriers and hideout managers transporting drugs to other dealers in the area, according to the news release.

“Misleading marketing coupled with ease of access makes these seemingly harmless little pills a significant threat to the health and safety of all of our communities. A staggering number of teenagers and young adults are unaware that they are ingesting fentanyl in these fake pills and being poisoned,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Bill Bodner said in a statement Thursday.

Los Angeles is a hub for trafficking illegal drugs across the US-Mexico border due to its many international airports, freeways, and bus and train routes, according to the DEA. The DEA office in Los Angeles saw a 64% increase in fentanyl pills seized in the first four months of 2022, compared to the previous year.

The DEA claims that 40% of fentanyl-containing pills have a lethal dose, which is around 2 milligrams. Fentanyl is largely responsible for the nearly 108,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2021.

The DEA declined further comment to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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Joan J. Dean

The author Joan J. Dean