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Tag: Drugs

The Continuing Rapid Rise of Seizures and Overdose Fatalities Involving Fentanyl

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) issued an alert this week about the continuing rapid rise of seizures and overdose fatalities involving fentanyl. As reported in this column last June, fentanyl is a fast-acting opioid , 50-100 times stronger than morphine, that is now being used by sellers to mix with heroin in order to increase the “high.” The problem is that the substance is so much more potent that users often do not know of this increase and have a greater risk of suffering a fatal overdose.

The danger posed by this development has risen dramatically in the last three years, and the increase in 2014 was at epidemic levels. DEA has responded with ramping up enforcement activity. Seizures have gone from 618 in 2012, 949 in 2013, to a staggering 4,585 in 2014. These seizures are concentrated in ten states, with Ohio having the highest number of seizures (1,245), followed by Massachusetts (630), and Pennsylvania (419).

Most of this rise has been from illegal manufacturing operations rather than diversion of pharmaceutically produced drugs, according to a report by the DEA Office of Diversion Control. The alert was reported in this week’s Medscape Medical News.

The CDC asked law enforcement to participate in expanded surveillance and record-keeping programs, along with medical examiners and emergency rooms, to report these seizures to local public health departments. It also warned law enforcement officers to take special safety precautions to avoid exposure to the drug either through skin contact or by inadvertently inhaling it.

DEA Agent Sentenced to 6.5 Years for Stealing Digital Currency from Drug Site Silk Road

250px-Silk_Road_LogoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A DEA agent who stole more than $700,000 in digital currency from online drug dealer Silk Road was sentenced Monday to 6.5 years in prison for extortion and other charges, the Associated Press reports. 

DEA Agent Carl M. Force, 46, went undercover as a drug dealer with ties to hit men.

Silk Road operator Ross Ulbricht was recently sentenced to life in prison.

Force was accused of selling information about the investigation.

Other Stories of Interest

Weekend Series on Crime: Mexican Oil and the Drug Cartels

Mexican Cartel Leader Convicted of Torture, Murder of DEA Agent Could Soon Be Released

dea-badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Mexican cartel leader convicted of the 1985 torture and murder of DEA Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena Salazar could soon be released from prison in Mexico, Fox News reports.

Ernesto “Don Neto” Fonseca Carrillo, 85, who was one of the leaders of the Guadalajara Cartel has served 30 years of a 40-year sentence.

Fonseca Carillo is eligible for house arrest.

The government is considering a proposal by defense attorneys to move Fonseca Carillo to a house, which would be guarded.

What Took D.C. So Long to Respond to the Problem of Synthetic Drugs?

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 9.39.04 AM

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Washington, like a lot of other major cities, has had to deal with the plague of synthetic drugs for years. But the city  has been slow to respond, writes Jeffrey Anderson in the D.C. City Paper. 

Anderson writes about authorities charging Nebiyu Jamal Fanta, who worked at the  Benning Market & Dollar Plus in a tough section of D.C.

Anderson writes:

Until this summer, Fanta’s was one of only five cases on file in D.C. Superior Court, even as MPD Chief Cathy Lanier and Mayor Muriel Bowser cite synthetic drugs as a contributing factor to a recent spike in D.C. homicides and tout some 70 synthetic drug-related arrests this year. Overdoses among homeless persons have further elevated the issue to what is being described as a public health crisis and a threat to public safety. D.C. officials said they initially suspected synthetic drugs were a factor in the stabbing death of 24-year-old American University graduate Kevin Sutherland aboard a Metro Red Line train on July 4, then began to question the suspect’s mental state. Lanier has cited the drugs as a factor in three other unidentified homicides, and in July, the Pretrial Services Agency says 20 percent of recent violent crime suspects had tested positive for synthetic drugs.

Now, after years of dithering, and in the midst of a summer crime wave, D.C. officials have leapt into action with a series of legislative, regulatory, and investigative efforts—both civil and criminal—aimed at preventing the drugs from overwhelming a city. But in spite of the newfound urgency, the question remains: What took them so long?

To read the full story click here. 

Border Patrol Discovers Meth-Laced Candy at a Checkpoint Near Mexico

Meth-laced candy, via Border Patrol

Meth-laced candy, via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol has made an alarming discovery – candy laced with methamphetamine.

The Desert Sun reports that agents discovered several boxes of the candy at a checkpoint on Highway 86 near the Salton Sea.

Drug-sniffing dogs led agents to candy, which was inside a 2012 Nissan Frontier being driven by a 48-year-old man.

The tamarind candy, which was labeled in Spanish, tested positive for methamphetamine.

The DEA is now investigating.

Other Stories of Interest

Former Secret Service Agent Pleads Guilty to Stealing $820K Worth of Bitcoin During Silk Road Probe

bitcoin_bigBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former Secret Service agent accused of pocketing $820,000 worth of Bitcoin money while investigating the Silk Road online drug marketplace has pleaded guilty to money laundering and obstruction of justice.

Tech Times reports that then-Secret Service Agent Shaun Bridges admitted Monday to stealing the Bitcoin money and placing it in a personal account.

Bridges said he stole about 20,000 Bitcoin in 2013.

Another federal agent, Carl Force, also admitted to stealing the digital currency several month ago.

“This case shows we will act quickly to hold wrongdoers accountable, no matter who they are,” Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell said.

Cocaine Production in Bolivia Drops for 4th Year in Row After DEA Was Kicked Out

boliviaBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

For the fourth year in a row, cocaine production declined in Bolivia after the DEA was forced to leave the country, Mint Press News reports. 

Last year, cocaine production dropped 11% over the prior year, according to the United Nations.

The DEA was forced out of Bolivia seven years ago, and instead of seeking punitive measures, the Bolivian government found alternative crops for farmers.

“Bolivia has adopted a policy based on dialogue, where coca cultivation is allowed in traditional areas alongside alternative development [in others],” Antonino de Leo, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s representative in Bolivia, told VICE News.

“It’s not only about making money off a crop. In the old fashioned alternative development approach, we substitute one illicit crop for a licit crop. It’s about a more comprehensive approach that includes access to essential services like schools, hospitals, and roads in areas that traditionally have been hard to reach,” Leo added.