October 1 (WNN) — Law enforcement agents seized more than 1.8 million counterfeit prescription pills laced with fentanyl and arrested 810 people in a two-month crackdown on illegal black market drugs officials said are contributing to the country’s overdose crisis.
Agents also seized 8,842 pounds of methamphetamine, 1,395 pounds of cocaine and 1,570 pounds of fentanyl powder during a press conference Thursday, Drug Enforcement Administration and Justice Department officials announced the results of nationwide law enforcement efforts launched on Aug. did. Enough to make 10 million bullets, plus 158 weapons.
Officials said the amount of fentanyl-laced pills confiscated during the operation could have killed more than 700,000 Americans.
“Such seizures will not solve this problem: We also need the public to know the dangers of counterfeit bullets,” said Lisa Monaco, deputy attorney general at the Justice Department.
Last year, more than 93,000 people died in the United States, the highest number on record, with opioids accounting for more than 75% of deaths, with the primary driver being fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that has been linked to seizures. Most of the counterfeit pills were found.
“From small towns, from suburbs to rural counties, no place is safe,” she said. “No place in this country is safe from the overdose deaths that are plaguing this country.”
The operation was announced on Monday, days after it issued its first public safety alert in six years, warning Americans about an “alarming” increase in these pills, which were largely funded by the Mexican drug network. Americans are flooding the roads from China using the chemicals produced.
The pills, it said, appear similar to prescription drugs such as Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, Adderall, Xanax and others, and are sold online on social media platforms such as Facebook to profit from the opioid epidemic.
“The prevalence, low cost of synthetic opioids and the way criminal drug networks disguise them as legitimate prescription pills may actually make them particularly dangerous to public safety,” she said.
DEA Administrator Anne Milgram explained that they are not talking about legitimate pills prescribed by a doctor, but that drug cartels are pushing and marketing them as if they were the “real thing.”
“And they are not,” she said. “They are not being prescribed by a legitimate doctor, they are not being filled at a pharmacy.”
Monaco said the DEA issued its first alert since 2015 because they are confiscating counterfeit pills containing lethal doses of the drug at an alarming rate.
According to law enforcement data, more than 9.5 million counterfeit pills have been seized by the DEA in the past year, more than the number seized in the past two years combined. The alert issued this week also states that the number of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl has increased by 430% since 2019.
Monaco said four out of 10 counterfeit pills seized contained a lethal 2-mg dose of fentanyl, up from one in 10 in 2017.
To counter the escalation, Monaco said they would work with Mexico to close these laboratories, while calling on China to curb the abuse of precursor chemicals to illegal drug use.
The DEA has also launched the One Pill Can Kill campaign to inform the public about the dangers of counterfeit prescription pills.
Monaco told reporters that the increase in such gunfire in the United States is independent of whether there has been an increase in migrants attempting to enter the country on America’s southern border. Milgram agreed, saying they were coping with a half-trillion dollar business that would find a way to make money.
Drug cartels “do their best to get narcotics to fill our streets with dangerous drugs like fentanyl and methamphetamine and they do it in any way they can, whether it’s border, port, by air, By mail, we’ve seen every cartel work in a way to get those drugs here and I think it’s really important to understand what we’re facing,” she said.
“We have to do everything we can to prevent these organizations from being able to source, manufacture and distribute those drugs,” she said.