36 Million Lethal Doses of Fentanyl Removed from Communities between May and September
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration today announced the results of an enforcement operation that spanned from May to September and resulted in significant fentanyl seizures across the United States.
As part of the One Pill Can Kill initiative, the DEA and its law enforcement partners seized more than 10.2 million fentanyl pills and approximately 980 pounds of fentanyl powder from May 23 through Sept. 8, 2022. The amount of fentanyl taken off the streets during this surge is equivalent to more than 36 million lethal doses removed from the illegal drug supply. Additionally, 338 weapons were seized, including rifles, shotguns, pistols, and hand grenades.
Of the 390 cases investigated during this period, 51 points are linked to overdose poisonings, and 35 are connected directly to one or both of the primary Mexican cartels responsible for most fentanyl in the United States Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG). In addition, 129 investigations are linked to social media platforms, including Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and TikTok. These results build upon the One Pill Can Kill Phase II results announced by DEA Administrator Anne Milgram in December 2021.
“Across the country, fentanyl is devastating families and communities, and we know that violent, criminal drug cartels bear responsibility for this crisis,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “The Justice Department, including the extraordinary professionals of the DEA, is working to disrupt and dismantle the operations of these cartels, remove deadly fentanyl from our communities, and save Americans’ lives.”
“For the past year, confronting the fentanyl crisis has been the top priority for DEA. The most urgent threat to our communities, kids, and families are the Sinaloa Cartel and CJNG, who are, mass producing and supplying the fentanyl that is poisoning and killing Americans,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram. “The Sinaloa Cartel and CJNG are ruthless, criminal organizations that use deception and treachery to drive addiction with complete disregard for human life. To save American lives, the DEA is relentlessly focused on defeating the Sinaloa Cartel and CJNG by degrading their operations to make it impossible for them to do business.”
“Fentanyl kills and is being marketed to all segments of society, threatening the health and safety of our communities,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank Tarantino, New York Division. “Fake pills are laced and Letha,l which cause significant harm to the most vulnerable because there is no way to know if that one pill will kill until it is too late. DEA is committed to defeating Mexican cartels and Chinese criminal organizations responsible for inflicting the most harm in our communities.”
Fentanyl remains the deadliest drug threat facing this nation. In 2021, a record number of Americans – 107,622 – died from drug poisoning or overdose. Sixty-six percent of those deaths can be attributed to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.
Drug traffickers have expanded their inventory to sell fentanyl in various bright colors, shapes, and sizes. Rainbow fentanyl was first reported to DEA in February 2022 and has now been seized in 21 states.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin. Just two milligrams of fentanyl, or the amount that could fit on the tip of a pencil, is considered a potentially lethal dose.