May 9, 2022: FDA calls out counterfeit versions of common COVID antigen tests.
The FDA warned that it had located fake versions of Flowflex COVID-19 and iHealth COVID-19 antigen test kits, and sent letters to five companies for making misleading health claims about delta-8 THC products. CBP officers in Texas seized over 71,500 pills of prescription medication, including Xanax. The RCMP and the FBI shut down a multidrug British Columbian drug operation that included counterfeit Xanax and anabolic steroids. The U.S. Senate introduced a bill that would increase penalties for manufacturing fentanyl pills.
27 more stories detail fentanyl seizures, sentences and deaths in 19 states.
Counterfeit COVID tests, new legislation and large prescription drug seizures
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that counterfeit versions of Flowflex COVID-19 and iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid test kits have been found in the U.S. Consult their resources to learn how to distinguish the real tests from the fakes.
The agency also warned five companies selling products purported to contain delta-8 THC to stop claiming that they can diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent diseases. The FDA has not approved drugs containing delta-8 THC and has received reports of adverse events experienced by patients who have consumed these products.
Senator Grassley's office announced that he and Senators Feinstein, Cornyn and Hassan had introduced the Stop Pills That Kill Act, which would apply the existing penalties for manufacturing methamphetamine to counterfeit pill production.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the Los Indios International Bridge in Texas seized 71,590 pills of undeclared prescription medication, including 58,000 Xanax pills.
An investigation by British Columbia’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Los Angeles, California led to the arrest of six people in Vancouver and Victoria and the seizure a variety of drugs, among them counterfeit Xanax and anabolic steroids, as well as a large amount of cash and gold and silver bars.
Revenue officers in Dublin, Ireland seized drugs worth 297,000 euros (more than $310,000), including 410,000 anti-anxiety and sleeping pills. The drugs had been shipped from the United States, Spain, France, Canada, India, Hungary, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
Counterfeit pills across the country
In the Northeast
Massachusetts State Police arrested three people after a search of apartments in Lynn and Salem yielded hundreds of fentanyl and methamphetamine pills, some of which were hidden in a dog crate under a pit bull named “Kilo.”
Authorities in New Hampshire warned about an increase in incidents involving counterfeit pills made with fentanyl.
In the Pacific West
In Alaska, investigators with the Southeast Alaska Cities Against Drugs and Alaska State Troopers on Prince of Wales Island arrested three people after they tracked a package of narcotics to a residence in Klawock, seizing 2,000 fentanyl pills disguised as oxycodone and 453 grams of crystal methamphetamine.
In California, 56-year-old Jose Aguilar-Chavez, who was caught with 36,000 fake oxycodone pills made of fentanyl during a traffic stop in September 2021, was convicted of transportation of fentanyl for sale in Sacramento Superior Court.
A man in Pacific Grove, California is facing drug and firearms charges after police caught him carrying over 13,000 counterfeit “M30” pills containing fentanyl in February.
A woman in Palm Desert, California was charged with selling counterfeit painkillers made with fentanyl that killed 32-year old Cameron Bridges on March 20, 2022.
With the help of a police dog, officers with the Mount Shasta Police Department seized approximately 10 pounds of fentanyl pills during a traffic stop just south of Grass Valley.
In Oregon, another police dog helped Portland Police Bureau investigators locate two kilograms of fentanyl powder and 10,600 counterfeit M30 pills worth nearly $150,000.
In the Midwest
A man in Crystal Lake, Illinois was charged with drug-induced homicide and criminal drug conspiracy for selling the fentanyl pills that led to the death of 27-year-old man Colton Steiner in 2021. He is the second Crystal Lake resident to be charged in the case.
A South Bend, Indiana resident was charged with drug dealing for allegedly selling fentanyl to police informants. A search of his home yielded cannabis and drug paraphernalia, including a pill press.
The Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force arrested a 36-year-old Mankato man after they found more than 1,000 fentanyl pills in a storage locker in Kasota.
In Kansas City, Missouri, Michelle and Frank Termini started a foundation to honor the memory of their daughter, Nina Strada, who died in June 2021 at just 22-years-old, after taking a fake oxycodone made with fentanyl.
Columbus Public Health issued a warning after two students at The Ohio State University died this week after taking fake Adderall pills that authorities suspect were made with fentanyl.
In the South
Learn about Florida's counterfeit drug history or consult our state resources page to look up another state.
Lillie Carlson is anxious to spread the word about the danger of fentanyl pills after losing her 19-year-old son Collin, a resident of Hollywood, Florida, to a fake Xanax in November 2020.
In Cape Coral, Jennifer Volbrecht, shared the story of her son, 18-year-old Brian Wilkins, who died after taking a Percocet made of fentanyl in May 2021.
In South Carolina, the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested nine people after seizing more than eight pounds of drugs, including about 1300 fentanyl pills, at a property in Hodges.
The Brunswick County Vice and Narcotics Unit arrested two Myrtle Beach, South Carolina residents after seizing thousands of grams of drugs, including more than 100 grams of fentanyl pills and Xanax, from their car and home.
In Texas, Tyler Tucker’s family is pushing for schools to stock naloxone and to add fentanyl to their drug education curriculum. 19-year-old Tyler died in Leander in September 2021 after taking a counterfeit Percocet made with fentanyl.
Investigators with Celina, Texas’s police department uncovered a fentanyl pill operation linked to more than a dozen poisoning cases—one fatal—in Celina, Dallas, McKinney, and Prosper.
The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Washington Office and police in Prince William County, Virginia arrested four men and seized over 5,000 counterfeit Percocet pills suspected to contain fentanyl at three locations in Woodbridge and Dumfries. The arrests follow the deaths of two local teenagers last week.
Authorities in nearby Alexandria issued a warning about fentanyl pills and a spike of poisonings among school-aged kids.
Virginia Beach residents Marcus Hughes and Deshowna Corprew were sentenced to a cumulative 23 years in federal prison. Police caught them transporting 14,000 fentanyl pills from Rhode Island to Virginia during a traffic stop.
Huntington, West Virginia resident Bobby James Mitchell pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute fentanyl. Police found almost 500 pills in his car during a traffic stop in December 2021.
In the Mountain West
A jury convicted 26-year-old Jorge Alexander Che-Quiab of Aurora, Colorado of manslaughter and drug charges for giving 16-year-old Alexis Krzystek a fentanyl pill during a party at his apartment and going to sleep rather than calling for help while she died of fentanyl poisoning. Che-Quiab was also convicted of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl.
9News in Colorado reviewed the prosecution of convicted drug trafficker Bruce Holder, who recruited his family to help with importing thousands of fentanyl pills from Mexico for sale in Western Colorado. Holder, who is scheduled to be sentenced in June, sold pills that killed Jonathan Ellington in 2017, and Ashley Romero in 2018.
Idaho residents Stephen Anthony Anastasio and Miranda Westman were each sentenced to seven months in jail and to complete a drug treatment program for drug possession. An Iron County Sheriff’s deputy found them carrying hundreds of fentanyl pills during a traffic stop in February.
In Nevada, the Carson City Sheriff's Office reported a significant increase in incidents involving the possession of fentanyl powder or pills, and victims of fentanyl poisoning.