September 26, 2022: Advocates Release Best Practices To Rid Social Media Of Drug Trafficking

This week: Join parent advocates for the release of Best Practices to Rid Social Media of Drug Trafficking tomorrow. Three states warned about xylazine in the illicit drug supply, including in fake prescription pills. Over 2.4 million counterfeit pills made with fentanyl seized in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida and Oregon and more than 24 stories in 17 states.

Parents, patient advocates and law enforcement on the Commission on Best Practices To Eliminate Drug Trafficking on Social Media have developed recommendations to get drug trafficking off online platforms. Get a preview by watching our video Drugs on Social Media, and  download the report on the Victims Of Illicit Drugs website.

Counterfeit pills across the country

Emerging Substances - Xylazine

Public health researchers in Delaware offered harm reduction advice about xylazine, a non-opioid veterinary sedative found in pills and powders tested by the Delaware State Police forensic chemistry unit. The drug, which is also called tranq, does not respond to naloxone and is often mixed with fentanyl. Authorities in Illinois and Michigan also issued warnings.

Pacific West

Alaska State Troopers in Kodiak arrested two men and seized over 11,000 fake oxycodone pills made with fentanyl and three pounds of methamphetamine last week.

Anthony Souza of Ocean Beach, California received a 150-month sentence for conspiracy to distribute fentanyl. Souza’s fentanyl pill sales led to the death of 28-year-old Chad Stevens in November 2019. A co-conspirator, Alyson Marie Vaccacio, has pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing,

The Los Angeles Police Department warned that at least six LA teens were treated for fentanyl poisoning and one teen died, after ingesting counterfeit pills in the last month.

Deputies in Multnomah County, Oregon seized 92,000 fentanyl pills, and 13 pounds of other illicit drugs during a traffic stop on September 18.

Nicholas Partlow, of Issaquah, Washington, received a seven-year federal prison sentence for making more than 400 dark web sales of illicit drugs (including counterfeit pills made with fentanyl) as well as dealing locally.

flowers and lit candles on steps

A memorial for 15-year-old Melanie Ramos who died in Los Angeles after taking a counterfeit pill on September 13. (Los Angeles Times)

Mountain West

Some of the more than 1 million fentanyl pills seized by Phoenix police in one bust, September 2022.

Phoenix, Arizona police reported seizing more than one million fentanyl pills while carrying out a search warrant on September 21.

A pair of Arizona sisters have been charged with possession of counterfeit pills made with  fentanyl by a grand jury in Maricopa County after sheriff’s deputies found over 850,000 of the pills in their car on August 24th.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Nogales Point of Entry in Arizona seized approximately 400,000 fentanyl pills hidden in five different vehicles over the weekend of September 17.

Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking in Cottonwood, Arizona arrested a pair of accused drug dealers. They seized a variety of illicit drugs, including a small number of fentanyl pills, and a pill press during the investigation.

Police in Bullhead City, Arizona arrested a woman after they searched her home and found approximately 2,000 pills containing fentanyl.

A sheriff's deputy in Mesa County, Colorado seized 90,000 fentanyl pills during a traffic stop on Interstate 70 near the Utah state line.

A couple in Colorado are facing seven criminal charges, including murder, for running a large scale drug trafficking business, allegedly selling cocaine and fentanyl pills from their Brighton home for three months after their one-year-old daughter died from fentanyl toxicity.

Jessie James Raymond Verner pleaded guilty to drug and domestic violence charges in Boulder, Colorado District Court. Verner, who came to the attention of the police after two domestic violence calls, was found with almost 250 blue counterfeit oxycodone pills made with fentanyl on January 27, 2022.

After a five-day trial, Jaime Collazo Munoz, of Sparks, Nevada, was found guilty of selling fentanyl pills out of Stay Faded Barbershop between July and November 2020.


Steven Williams Jr., of Indianapolis, Indiana received a 57-month federal prison sentence after pleading guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Corrections officers and police officers found illicit drugs, several guns, a pill press and other drug paraphernalia in William’s home during a compliance check in September.

A couple in Evansville, Indiana were indicted after children they lived with got into the fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills they were allegedly selling. A one-year-old was treated with Narcan and survived; her 3-year-old sister died.

Eric Dodd of St. Cloud, Minnesota pleaded guilty to drug possession after he tried to have 5,600 fentanyl pills shipped from Arizona.

Authorities in Oak Grove, Missouri warned about counterfeit pills made with fentanyl; three teenagers from the town have been treated for fentanyl poisoning and a fourth has died since August 2022.


An Alabama mother warned others about counterfeit pills made of fentanyl after her 26-year-old daughter, Jakari Givens, died of fentanyl poisoning after taking a fake Percocet in July.

Police in Jacksonville, Florida confiscated 6,000 fentanyl pills and more than four kilograms of fentanyl powder and cocaine.

Three people died of suspected fentanyl poisoning in Wichita Falls, Texas over the weekend of September 17th, including a 13-year-old. That brings the total number of fentanyl deaths to at least 18 so far this year. According to the Wichita Falls Police Department, the deaths are connected to counterfeit Percocet pills.

Chari Alberts and her daughter Kylie Fitzgerald have created Fentanyl Awareness- Brazos County, a Facebook group  to raise awareness about the threat of fentanyl after Alberts’ son Koby died after taking a counterfeit pill in April 2022.

Seizure photo, Jacksonville, Florida, September 2022 (Twitter)


Two Marylanders are facing fentanyl trafficking charges after they arranged to sell about 15,000 fentanyl pills to an undercover DEA agent in Wethersfield, Connecticut.

A Silver Spring, Maryland resident has been charged with selling fentanyl pills that resulted in the death of a Bethesda, Maryland minor in January 2022.

A federal court in Massachusetts sentenced Joshua Teixeira to seven years in prison for racketeering and drug trafficking in connection with a Boston street gang. Over one kilogram of fentanyl (including over 2,000 fentanyl pills disguised as oxycodone) and a commercial pill press were among items that law enforcement seized during the investigation.

Police arrested a couple in New Bedford, Massachusetts and seized almost 600 grams of fentanyl, more than half of which was in counterfeit pill form, from their home.

Tomas Santos, of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania pleaded guilty to drug delivery resulting in the death of 30-year-old Ashley Jarrell, who was found dead in her vehicle in a Wawa parking lot in 2020. Santos was associated with another counterfeit pill death in 2018.