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March 2023


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Tag: opioids

Texas Man Who Ran Fentanyl Pill-Pressing Operation Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison

By Steve Neavling

A Texas man was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for operating a fentanyl pill-pressing operation. 

Adrian Warren, 33, of Saginaw, pleaded guilty in October 2022 to possession with intent to distribute controlled substances and was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Reed C. O’Connor. 

Two co-defendants pleaded guilty to similar charges and were sentenced to between 11 and 15 years in prison. 

“One of the scariest things about fentanyl is that drug traffickers press it into pills that look identical to real pills containing other medications, meaning many users are buying and ingesting these counterfeit pills off the street without knowing they contain a drug 100 times more potent than morphine,” U.S. Attorney Leigha Simonton said. “Fentanyl is tearing through our communities at an alarming rate, poisoning our friends, our family members, and worst of all, our children. We will not rest until we stop this killer drug from circulating in our communities.  We urge everyone to immediately educate themselves and their loved ones about the dangers of ingesting any type of pill that comes off the street because it could contain this deadly substance.”

During the investigation, DEA agents discovered that Warren had purchased more than two dozen kilograms of excipient, which is an inactive binder used to produce pills. The excipient was in various colors, likely to make the pills appear to be difference prescription drugs, according to the DEA. 

“Fentanyl is the single deadliest drug threat our nation has ever encountered,” said Eduardo A. Chávez, Special Agent in Charge of DEA operations in Dallas-Fort Worth. “The sentence handed down to Mr. Warren, Ms. Martinez-Otero, and Mr. Rodriguez is a clear message that the production and trafficking of fentanyl will not be tolerated in our neighborhoods. DEA and all of our law enforcement partners will continue to work together and keep this poison off our streets.”

In 2022, the DEA seized more than 379 million deadly doses of fentanyl, enough to kill every American.

DEA Seized Massive Amounts of Fentanyl in 2022

Rainbow fentanyl pills seized by the DEA. Photo via DEA.

By Steve Neavling

The DEA seized more than 379 million deadly doses of fentanyl this year, enough to kill every American. 

The DEA revealed Wednesday that it had seized 50.6 million fentanyl-laced bills and 10,000 pounds of the synthetic opioid powder, ABC reports

“These seizures – enough deadly doses of fentanyl to kill every American – reflect the DEA’s unwavering commitment to protect Americans and save lives, by tenaciously pursuing those responsible for the trafficking of fentanyl across the United States,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in a statement.

The seizures come at a time when overdoses are reaching alarming levels.  

CBP also announced a record amount of fentanyl was seized at the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2022. 

In April, the DEA warned of an alarming increase in fentanyl deaths. In the 12-month period ending in October 2021, more than 105,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, and 66% of those deaths were from synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, according to the CDC. More Americans are dying from fentanyl overdoses than gun- and auto-related deaths combined. 

CBP Seizes Alarming Amounts of Fentanyl at U.S.-Mexico Border As Overdoses Continue to Rise

Rainbow fentanyl pills seized by the DEA. Photo via DEA.

By Steve Neavling

A record amount of fentanyl was seized at the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2022 as overdoses continue to reach alarming levels, according to CBP. 

In the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, CBP intercepted more than 14,700 pounds of the synthetic opioid. By comparison, CBP intercepted 11,200 pounds in fiscal year 2021. 

In 2013, when CBP began seizing fentanyl, only 2 pounds were seized. 

The DEA also seized a record amount of fentanyl last year.

Fentanyl seizures and overdoses reached record highs as the DEA tries to crack down on drug cartels that are pushing the drug. 

What makes it even more challenging is that drug users are unwittingly consuming fentanyl, which is being added to street drugs at alarming levels.

In April, the Drug Enforcement Administration warned of an alarming increase in fentanyl deaths. In the 12-month period ending in October 2021, more than 105,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, and 66% of those deaths were from synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, according to the CDC. More Americans are dying from fentanyl overdoses than gun- and auto-related deaths combined. 

“Fentanyl is killing Americans at an unprecedented rate,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in April. “Already this year, numerous mass-overdose deaths have resulted in dozens of overdoses and deaths. Drug traffickers are driving addition, and increasing their profits, by mixing fentanyl with other illicit drugs. Tragically, many overdose victims have no idea they are ingesting deadly fentanyl.” 

DEA Seizes Record Amount of Fentanyl-Laced Pills in California

About 1 million fentanyl-laced pills seized in California. Photo: DEA

By Steve Neavling

The DEA seized about 1 million fake pills laced with fentanyl in Inglewood, Calif., setting a record for the largest seizure of the synthetic opioid in the state’s history. 

Beginning in May, the DEA’s Los Angeles Field Division High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Group 48 began investigating a Los Angeles-area drug trafficking organization with suspected links to the Sinaloa Cartel. Agents identified narcotic couriers and stash house managers who were involved. 

The seizure was made while agents executed a search warrant on July 5 at an Inglewood residence. 

The street value of fentanyl was approximately $15 to $20 million, the DEA. 

“This massive seizure disrupted the flow of dangerous amounts of fentanyl into our streets and probably saved many lives,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Bill Bodner said in a statement. “The deceptive marketing coupled with the ease of accessibility makes these small and seemingly innocuous pills a significant threat to the health and safety of all our communities. A staggering number of teens and young adults are unaware that they are ingesting fentanyl in these fake pills and are being poisoned.”

In a letter to local, state and federal law enforcement in April, the DEA warned about a nationwide spike in fentanyl-related mass overdoses.

DEA Issues First Public Safety Alert in Six Years As Counterfeit Pills Flood the Market

By Steve Neavling

The DEA on Tuesday issued a rare warning about mass-produced counterfeit pills containing lethal doses of fentanyl that have been linked to fatalities. 

The public safety alert was the agency’s first in six years. 

According to the alert, more than 9.5 million counterfeit pills have been seized so far this year, which is more than the last two years combined. 

Lab testing found that the pills contain at least two milligrams of fentanyl, which is considered a lethal dose. 

Criminal drug networks are manufacturing the pills, which look like real prescription medications such as oxycodone, hydocodone, alprazolam, and amphetamines such as Adderall. 

“Across our five state Division, we’ve seen a staggering influx in counterfeit pills,” DEA Omaha Division Special Agent in Charge Justin C. King said in a news release. “This is not an East Coast or West Coast problem, but one that the entire nation is facing. We’re seeing these pills in our own Midwestern communities. By raising awareness to this alarming trend, we’re hopeful that we can save families the heartache of losing a loved one. Every life is precious and we want to prevent as many people as possible from making a choice that has permanent repercussions.”

Most of the counterfeit pills are produced in Mexico and brought to the U.S. 

More than 93,000 people died of a drug overdose in the U.S. last year, and the “primary driver of this alarming increase” is fentanyl, the DEA said. 

CBP Officers Save Life of Woman Who Overdosed on Drugs, Border Agency Says

By Steve Neavling

Customs and Border Protection officers are credited with saving the life of a young woman who appeared to be overdosing on an opioid. 

Two men carried the semi-conscious woman to the pedestrian lanes at the Douglas Port of Entry in Arizona on Sunday evening. While a supervisory CBP officer notified the Douglas Fire Department, a CBP-trained medic administered two doses of Narcan. 

Within one minute, the woman gained consciousness. She said she suspected someone had slipped her an unknown narcotic in Mexico. 

Firefighters transported her to a local medical facility. 

“This incident highlights the compassion of our officers, and the effort they put forth to keep the residents of our bi-national communities safe,” said Douglas Area Port Director Jeffrey A. Wilson. “Travelers should be mindful with whom and with what they interact while they are outside the United States.

It’s just the latest example of CBP officers coming to the rescue. 

On July 31, an off-duty Border Patrol agent saved a man from a burning car in metro Detroit.

Also in July, an off-duty agent from the El Centro Sector helped thwart a carjacking in what the agency called a “heroic act.”

In the same month, an off-duty Border Patrol agent in San Diego detained a man who was slashing a knife through the air while approaching bystanders.

Border Patrol Seizes Record Amount of Fentanyl in Tucson Sector

Synthetic opioid tablets

By Steve Neavling

Border Patrol agents have seized a record amount of fentanyl in the Tucson Sector.

So far in fiscal year 2020, the sector seized 57 pounds of the synthetic opioid, which is more than four times the amount seized last fiscal year, KTAR News reports.

Agents this week busted an 18-year-old Nevada woman smuggling more than 8 ounces of fentanyl at the Nogales Port of Entry.

“Really, it was a line of questioning and agent intuition which led to the person admitting that she was carrying these narcotics,” Agent Joe Curran said. “We’re just happy that this had the safest resolution for the person who was smuggling those narcotics, and there was no contamination to those agents or anybody.”

At least 32 fentanyl-related deaths have been reported by the Pima County Health Department.

DEA’s ‘Take Back Day’ Removes Prescription Pills – and vaping devices – from Circulation

By Steve Neavling

Law enforcement agencies across the country will host the DEA’s Take Back Day on Saturday to help the public dispose of unwanted, unused or expired prescription drugs.

The idea is to help prevent pill abuse and theft by allowing people to anonymously drop off drugs.

It’s the 18th event in nine years. In the previous events, law enforcement officials collected a total of 11.8 million pounds of pills.

“The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue,” the DEA says. “According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.9 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.”

For the first time, people can drop off their marijuana vaping devices.

“Concerns have been raised across the United States over illnesses and death caused by vaping and the high youth vaping initiation rates,” a DEA media release states. “In an effort to support a healthy lifestyle and energetic population, especially amongst America’s youth, DEA is committed to doing all it can to help safely dispose of vaping devices and substances.”

To find a drop-off site, click here.