As reported by Tucson News Now, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Tempe Police Department uncovered 30,000 counterfeit pills made with fentanyl during a traffic stop on August 13, 2017 in connection with an investigation into the Sinaloa Cartel. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times stronger than heroin, which some have called “a third wave of the U.S. opioid crisis.” The pills were designed to look like oxycodone, the same counterfeit pills found in Tucson in June 2016.
Doug Coleman, Special Agent in Charge of DEA in Arizona, said, “This massive seizure removed thousands of potentially lethal doses of this powerful narcotic off the streets. DEA will never relent in its pursuit of Mexican cartels who manufacture huge quantities of fake oxycodone pills using fentanyl.” According to the DEA, this is the largest seizure of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl in Arizona’s history. DEA officials stated the Arizona Attorney General’s Office would prosecute this case.