Today, DEA in partnership with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office and the Tempe Police Department announced the culmination of a three-year long investigation targeting the Sinaloa Drug Cartel. To date, over 150 individuals have been charged and investigators have seized over 4.5 million fentanyl laced fake prescription pills, 66 kilograms of fentanyl powder, 138 kilograms of cocaine, 3100 pounds of methamphetamine, 35 kilograms of heroin, 49 firearms and over $2 million dollars. The narcotics seized in this investigation is valued at over $13 million dollars. The fentanyl seized represents more than 30 million potentially lethal doses. This investigation is part of DEA’s work in defeating the criminal drug cartels, Sinaloa and Jalisco (CJNG), who continue to drive addiction and drug poisonings in communities nationwide, threatening the safety and health of Americans. The Sinaloa Cartel is responsible for nearly all deadly narcotics flooding into Arizona.
“DEA Arizona is laser focused on the Sinaloa Drug Cartel. We will not stop,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Cheri Oz. “This investigation is a testament to our strong partnerships which enable us to gain the necessary advantage over these evil criminal networks.”
“There are few families in our state and across our country that haven’t been touched in some way by the scourge of the opioid epidemic and fentanyl crisis,” said Attorney General Kris Mayes. “I am very proud of our agents’ work and am grateful for our strong partnerships with other law enforcement agencies. Getting these drugs off the street will undoubtedly save lives.”
“Our mission to reduce the supply and demand of illegal drugs within the City of Tempe would not be successful without the collaboration and, more specifically the hard work and dedication of our detectives, special agents, and professional staff,” said Interim Tempe Police Chief Josie Montenegro.
Fentanyl is the deadliest drug threat facing our country and most of the fentanyl is trafficked by the Sinaloa and CJNG Cartels who mass-produce the drug in secret laboratories in Mexico with chemicals sourced largely by China. It is a highly addictive man-made opioid and just milligrams of fentanyl, the small amount that fits on the tip of a pencil, is considered a deadly dose. The criminal cartels are mass producing fake pills to look like prescription drugs such as Oxycontin, Hydrocodone, Percocet, Xanax, and Adderall. They are also hiding fentanyl in other drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin. Any illicit fentanyl, regardless of color, shape, or size, is dangerous and can be deadly.
Last year DEA Arizona seized over $22 million fentanyl laced fake prescription pills, 500 kilograms of fentanyl powder, over 10,000 pounds of methamphetamine, over 1400 kilograms of cocaine and over 400 pounds of heroin.
Law enforcement needs your help in spreading the word, to save lives. Families are encouraged to have open and honest communications with their loved ones, especially young people, about the dangers of fentanyl, fake pills and other illicit drugs. Never take a pill that wasn’t prescribed directly to you by your doctor. Never take a pill from a friend. Just one pill can be deadly.
More information for parents and families on the dangers of fentanyl and fake pills can be found on DEA’s website at One Pill Can Kill (dea.gov).