The recent press release from the Southern District of Indiana, as published by the U.S Attorney’s Office, alerts that the Drug Enforcement Administration and its law enforcement partners seized more than 10.2 million fentanyl pills and about 980 pounds of fentanyl powder between May 23 through September 8, 2022. Authorities believe they removed over 36 million lethal doses from the drug supply during the operation.
“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.”
The busts were part of the DEA’s “One Pill Can Kill initiative. During this timeframe, there were 390 reports and 51 overdose cases in which fentanyl played a role in the crime. Two Mexican drug trafficking organizations—the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG)—were the primary culprits behind the distribution of Fentanyl in the United States.
Of the 390 cases reviewed, 31 were related to either or both cartels. 129 cases involved social media platforms, including Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and TikTok. In addition, police officers confiscated 338 weapons during the operation, including firearms and grenades.
“Drug overdose deaths touch every Hoosier—our families, our friends, our children. These tragedies are overwhelmingly driven by trafficking of fentanyl and other deadly opioids,” said Zachary A. Myers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. “Fentanyl is concealed in everything from fake pharmaceuticals to rainbow candy-colored pills, and even within other controlled substances. The cartels and drug traffickers push these poisonous chemicals into our communities with utter disregard for human life. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will work with our partners in the DEA and throughout federal, state, and local law enforcement, to reduce the supply of these deadly drugs and hold fentanyl traffickers accountable.”
Last month, Governor Greg Abbott declared both cartels as international terrorist organizations and requested President John B. Biden to counter them as well. He also launched a public awareness program to guide people about the dangers caused by illicit fentanyl.
Led by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and 17 other attorneys general, the Biden administration was called on to classify fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction.
DEA and Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody have been active in educating the young generation of America about the ill effects of using “Rainbow Fentanyl Pills” through social media apps like Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook.
The series of Fentanyl busts was first reported in February 2022. The seizure later followed it in 21 other states in America.
“Across the country, fentanyl is devastating families and communities, and we know that violent, criminal drug cartels bear responsibility for this crisis,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. “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 the DEA. The most urgent threat to our communities, our kids, and our families are the Sinaloa Cartel and CJNG who are mass producing and supplying the fentanyl that is poisoning and killing Americans,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said. “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.”
The DEA says, “fentanyl remains the deadliest drug threat facing” America. In 2021, 107,622 Americans died from drug poisoning or overdose; 66% were attributed to synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
Fentanyl is a powerful opioid that is over 50 times stronger than heroin. Only two milligrams of fentanyl, a weight similar to that of a mosquito or an amount that can fit on the tip of a pencil, is considered a fatal dose.