Officials are raising the alarm that children are being targeted by drug cartels ahead of the Halloween season after authorities discovered 15,000 fentanyl pills hidden in candy packaging in Connecticut.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Friday that two Maryland men, Oscar Flores, 34, and Severe Alelar, 25, had been indicted on multiple charges for trafficking fentanyl.
The two men were arrested in Rock Hill on September 8 after they showed an undercover DEA agent a sample of their supply. The agent told the suspected drug traffickers that he needed to go to another location to pick up the money.
As Flores and Alelar followed the agent behind from another vehicle, a local police officer flashed his lights to pull over the suspects’ SUV. The two attempted to escape by driving over a roadside curb into a grassy area but were boxed in by other law enforcement vehicles.
When investigators searched the SUV, they discovered “numerous Nerds candy boxes and Skittles candy bags,” which ultimately contained 15,000 fentanyl pills.
— U.S. Attorney CT (@USAO_CT) September 23, 2022
Both Flores and Alelar face up to 80 years in prison if they are convicted on all charges brought against them.
“Trafficking fentanyl is already and undoubtedly a serious offense, but one doesn’t have to stretch their imagination too far to consider how disguising fentanyl pills in children’s candy packaging, as we allege, can result in even more tragic consequences in the community,” said U.S. Attorney Vanessa Avery.
Last month, DEA officials raised the alarm that Mexican drug cartels are disguising “rainbow fentanyl” pills as candy to get young individuals hooked as early as possible to drive their profits.
“Rainbow fentanyl—fentanyl pills and powder that come in a variety of bright colors, shapes, and sizes—is a deliberate effort by drug traffickers to drive addiction amongst kids and young adults,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram.
Milligram also noted the number of colored fentanyl pills being seized is increasing, as the DEA and law enforcement officials have confiscated pills in colorful presentations in 21 states, NBC News reported.
Former DEA special operations director Derek Maltz appeared on Fox and Friends Tuesday to warn parents the consequences of children becoming addicted to fentanyl are deadly.
“We’re seeing an unprecedented amount of kids dying as young as 13 years old,” Maltz said. “And we know now, the DEA says, that 40% of the pills contain a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl.”
“We’re losing a future generation — 300 a day,” he added.
Drug overdoses took the lives of over 108,000 Americans in 2021, with 66 percent of those deaths being attributed to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, according to the CDC.
Breitbart News recently reported that police in Phoenix, Arizona, announced on Friday they seized nearly one million fentanyl pills that were allegedly trafficked by two Hispanic men, who were arrested during the bust. It was one of the largest busts in the department’s history.
Phoenix police detectives seized approximately one million fentanyl pills in a home. Detectives arrested two suspected drug traffickers and seized a handgun in what they call the largest one-time seizure of fentanyl pills in the department’s history. https://t.co/5Iy0AJwonX
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) September 24, 2022
Much of the fentanyl supply in the U.S. are trafficked across the southern border, which has been largely unenforced by Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration.
From June to July, the amount of fentanyl seized at the border increased by 203 percent, according to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials. “More tangibly, law enforcement seized 2,071 pounds of fentanyl last month compared to 680 pounds in June,” Breitbart News noted.
You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter at @EthanLetkeman.