DEA confiscates 300 kilos of fentanyl, say Mexican drug cartels, which have caused record overdose deaths

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The number of deaths from drug overdose has hit an all-time high in the United States, with more than 100,000 deaths in one year.

Pointing to fentanyl as a major contributor to the increase in deaths, the DEA says the drug is made in Mexico, converted into counterfeit prescription pills by Mexican cartels, and then smuggled across the border.

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KTSM 9 newscaster Christina Aguayo was taken to the DEA’s drug testing room and shown about 11,000 counterfeit prescription pills that were infused with fentanyl, which is about a kilogram, with a street value of more than $ 100,000.

The fentanyl lace-up counterfeit prescription pills are made to look exactly like prescription pills. They are so strong that a special agent must be fully protected before being handled. In the drug testing room, a special agent put on three layers of gloves, an air-purifying respirator, and a special suit before handling the drugs in a special hood.

Special Agent Millard said profit and greed are driving Mexican drug cartels to distribute the counterfeit prescription pills containing fentanyl.

“It’s easy to make, it’s easy to get the chemicals. With the other drugs you have to grow a plant. With heroin you have to grow a plant, marijuana you have to grow a plant, cocaine you have to grow a plant. But fentanyl is made in a laboratory, it’s made secretly. It’s just chemicals that are mixed together. “

Deputy Special Agent Greg Millard

Which makes it extremely dangerous. According to Special Agent Millard, the cartels make fentanyl in powder and tablet form.

“And the pill shape is very scary because it looks like legitimate pharmaceuticals like Oxycontin, Oxycodone, Valium, and Xanax. So they mimick them, and when people buy the pill on the street they think they are getting a pill that might have been bought from a pharmacy that was prescribed by a doctor but is sold on the black market. However, they are not. You can get a tablet that contains fentanyl somewhere south of the border. “

Deputy Special Agent Greg Millard

A drug that is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. In fact, Millard said that a very small amount can be fatal.

“Fentanyl is so strong that just two milligrams could be potentially fatal. Two milligrams are like a few grains of salt. Imagine a few grains of salt on the end of a pencil. That’s two milligrams. 40% of the pills have a potentially lethal dose. “

Deputy Special Agent Greg Millard

In 2021, the DEA El Paso Division confiscated nearly 300 kilos of fentanyl – a 600% increase from 2020 – where they confiscated about 42 kilos. Millard said the drugs are being shipped across the country via El Paso, but they have seen more visits to the city lately.

And a new method used by the Mexican drug cartels is to recruit young adults to smuggle “people” across the border. Special Agent Millard said the same method was used to smuggle drugs into El Paso.

“We are [seeing] younger smugglers are recruited on social media platforms recruited by the drug cartels to bring the drugs. Often they don’t know what kind of smuggling there is, they are only paid to bring something into the USA. “

But Agent Millard has a warning against accepting cash to bring drugs across the border.

“I would tell you to be careful. If they’re being referred on social media, they’ll have to pay $ 50, $ 100, or $ 200 to bring something to the United States. Stay away it’s not safe It is probably narcotics and you risk your freedom, you will be arrested if you are caught with it. “

Deputy Special Agent Greg Millard

Millard says the DEA is attacking the opioid crisis from every angle, including using a reaction vehicle to destroy drug labs, and shows Aguayo one of those reaction vehicles.

“This is our new Clandestine Laboratory Response Vehicle. Traditionally these were used to react to meth in the clan labs where it was made in Texas, and more recently they have been used to react to fentanyl. “

Everything the agents need to run a fentanyl lab is inside the truck, it also contains sophisticated equipment to test for the deadly drug.

In addition to shutting down fentanyl drug labs, the DEA has launched Operation Engage – a program that delves deeper into public outreach and engages everyone from local law enforcement through schools, religious organizations, and even medical professionals – and they encourage parents to talk to their children about the dangers of drugs.

“We have de-stigmatized drug use,” said Millard Pill and it’s really scary “

Special Agent Millard said fentanyl is being added to other drugs like marijuana, cocaine, and even meth, so the deadly drug isn’t just found in the counterfeit pills smuggled across the border.
He also said the pills your doctor prescribed are safe. But if it’s not straight from the pharmacy, don’t take it. One pill, he said, can kill.

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