The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Arizona announced that over 1 million fentanyl pills were seized in the state in Fiscal Year 2019.
The deadly pills are often blamed for contributing to the opioid overdose crisis nationwide and predominantly resemble oxycodone M-30s known as “Mexican Oxy.”
The cumulative seizure easily surpasses FY2018 when approximately 380,000 pills were seized by DEA’s Phoenix Field Division and law enforcement agencies throughout the state.
“The proliferation of these pills trafficked into the U.S. by Mexican cartels and the sheer number of fentanyl pills seized in Arizona is alarming,” said Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman. “The DEA and our law enforcement partners throughout the state are committed to taking deadly fentanyl off the streets and ensuring those who manufacture and traffic these lethal pills are held accountable to the communities and families they destroy with this dangerous drug.”
By comparison to FY2016, 20,000 pills were seized statewide, according to the DEA.
Fentanyl was being used in powder form as an additive in heroin until Mexican cartels began mass-manufacturing pills or the U.S. market. In 2019, approximately 344 Arizonans died from fentanyl overdoses, as compared to 553 for the entirety of 2018, according to state health records.
Breitbart Texas previously reported on significant fentanyl seizures related to the Sinaloa Cartel. In April, Mexican federal investigators discovered an active lab in Culiacán. Also in April, the Mexican Army and state police seized 12,260 pills a checkpoint in Sonora. Last week, Breitbart Texas reported on the arrest of two fentanyl cooks working for the Sinaloa Cartel. In late July, an illegal immigrant from Mexico and a former municipal police officer were indicted in Amarillo, Texas, after he was arrested for transporting approximately 72 pounds of the opioid.
Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce has worked in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year assignment in Monterrey, Mexico, working out of the Consulate for the United States Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program, where he was the Regional Program Manager for Northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.) You can follow him on Twitter. He can be reached at email@example.com