September 27, 2021: The DEA seized 9.6 million counterfeit pills this budget year

The DEA issued a public warning that prescription medications bought on the black market contain fentanyl or methamphetamine. The agency reported that it seized 9.6 million counterfeit pills since September 30, 2020, which is more than it seized in the previous two years combined.

DEA Administration Anne Milgram told the Washington Post that “We decided to do this because the amounts are staggering,” and that counterfeit pills were driving a large portion of the overdose crisis.


The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania charged three men with drug trafficking after seizing thousands of fentanyl pills, kilogram quantities of cocaine, and tens of thousands of dollars in cash from three Wilkes-Barre homes.

Detectives in Gloucester, Massachusetts warned residents that fake Xanax, Adderall and oxycodone pills had been found in the area.

In Rhode Island, the U.S. attorney’s office reported on the progress of Operation Rhode Runner, which has resulted in the arrest of 17 individuals and the seizure of cocaine, fentanyl in powder and pill form, and $100,000 in cash.


U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Louisville, Kentucky intercepted  a shipment of almost 7,000 unapproved Viagra and Cialis pills on its way from Hong Kong to a person in Montreal, Canada.

Officers with the Mint Hill, North Carolina Police Department seized more than 52,000 fentanyl pills during the search of a house.

Pacific West

Click the image to read the concerns of dark web buyers about "CaliPlugMike."

Two Encino, California residents were charged with murder for the September 2020 death of a Los Angeles resident who they allegedly treated with fake body contouring injections.

A former California state employee who called himself CaliPlugMike on dark web marketplaces has been indicted for the alleged sale of counterfeit Viagra, fake Xanax, and other items.

Roselia Kubeck and Rosario Gonzalez of Calexico, California will serve three years of probation and pay $14,000 each for performing fake COVID-19 tests on residents of senior apartment complexes in El Centro and Calexico for a Medicare fraud scheme.

California Highway Patrol seized approximately 1,000 fentanyl pills and a pound of heroin during a traffic stop in Merced.

Federal prosecutors charged eight people who allegedly ran a drug trafficking organization led by residents of Detroit, Michigan that sold oxycodone tablets, methamphetamine, and heroin and fake prescription pills that contained fentanyl in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Mountain West

A piece about the robust response of Native Americans in North Dakota to Detroit, Michigan-based pill trafficking told the story of 21-year-old Cheyenne Packineau, a mother and stand-out basketball player who died of fentanyl poisoning in October 2018 after taking a fake pill.

​​A resident of Montana’s Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation admitted to helping a Michigan-based drug supplier sell fentanyl pills and pills that combined fentanyl and methamphetamine from home.

Idaho State Police troopers arrested an Idaho Falls man for possession of methamphetamine and 370 fentanyl pills.

A Las Vegas, Nevada woman was charged with second-degree murder for allegedly providing the fake oxycodone pills made with fentanyl that killed Joshua Gallegos in February 2021.

In Colorado, the Larimer County District Court fined clinic owner Siegfried Emme of Loveland $40,000 after he violated an order from the Colorado Department of Law to stop marketing fake COVID-19 cures, including ivermectin.

In the first six months of 2021, at least 381 Coloradans died of fentanyl overdoses—an average of two a day. A Denver-area physician’s assistant working in addiction treatment reported that “about half” of the facility’s patients use fentanyl pills.

The FDA warned against Ivermectin as a COVID treatment in September 2021.


A grieving family in Bexley, Ohio has launched BirdieLight, a fentanyl awareness organization in honor of Eli Weinstock, who died at college in Washington DC in March after taking a counterfeit fentanyl pill.

Lorenzo Brabo of Lake Orion, Michigan received an eight- to 15-year prison sentence for providing the fentanyl pills that killed Rochester Hill residents Caleb Kiessling, 20, Kyler Kiessling,18, and 17-year-old Sophia Harris.

36-year-old Lyndon Aukeem Swarn of Minneapolis, Minnesota received a 19-year prison sentence followed by a decade of supervised release for fentanyl pill trafficking. Law enforcement found more than 35,000 fentanyl pills during three raids of properties associated with Swarn between October 2019 and July 2020.

One Minnesota resident and three Arizona residents face fentanyl distribution conspiracy charges after law enforcement in New Hope, Minnesota linked them to the delivery of 10 pounds of fentanyl powder and 10,000 pills suspected to contain fentanyl.

The Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force is investigating four deaths, two of which have been linked to fake prescription pills made with fentanyl, in and around Mankato.

In Bartholomew County, Indiana, the sheriff's office warned residents about counterfeit prescription pills in the area.


Authorities in Dhaka, Bangladesh raided three drugstores and their warehouses and arrested people involved in counterfeiting common medicines, including birth control pills. The case is one of five recent fake medicine cases filed in Bangladesh as well as several in nearby India.