February 21, 2023: FDA urges U.S. residents to buy all prescription medicines from U.S. licensed pharmacies.

This week: The FDA reminded U.S. residents that it doesn’t regulate medicine made for other  countries. CBP in California and Wisconsin confiscated thousands of tramadol pills and other prescription drugs. Mexico seized 630,000 fentanyl pills from a Sinaloa drug lab, and arrested a man who allegedly controls the cartels’ fake pill trade. Additional news involving counterfeit prescription pills made with fentanyl and other dangerous drugs in 19 states.

PSM's congressional briefing is coming up on February 28th. The program will include breakfast, a keynote by U.S. Senator Rick Scott, and panels: Impediments to Foreign Drug Importation | Social Media & Counterfeit Pills. The event is open to the public. Reserve your seat now

Reserve your seat now for our congressional briefing, Washington D.C., February 28, 2023, 8:00  – 10:00am

Verify that you are buying from a licensed U.S. pharmacy at the NABP's safe.pharmacy website.

In response to recent reports that some Mexican pharmacies are selling counterfeit medication that contains fentanyl and methamphetamine, a Food and Drug Administration spokesman noted that it does not regulate products intended for other countries’ markets, and urged U.S. consumers to obtain all prescription drugs from a U.S. licensed pharmacy.

A traveler at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in California was fined more than $22,000 when Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers discovered 9,000 tramadol pills and 640 B12 syringes hidden in the engine compartment of his vehicle.

CBP officers also seized an express shipment that contained unapproved prescription medicine–antibiotics, a steroid and an anti-inflammatory–on its way from Mexico to a residence in Milwaukee.

Counterfeit pills made with fentanyl and other drugs

Mexico's defense ministry announced the arrest of a suspected cartel member believed to be the main producer of fentanyl and methamphetamine pills and a large-scale cocaine trafficker to the U.S.

Mexican soldiers reported the seizure of almost 630,000 fentanyl pills from an outdoor lab in Culiacan, the capital of the northern state of Sinaloa.They also confiscated 282 pounds of powdered fentanyl and about 220 pounds of suspected methamphetamines.

Drugs and pill presses seized from Fajardo’s apartment. (Westford Police Department)

In the northeast


Former Wethersfield resident Shane Sawicki pleaded guilty in Harford federal court to possession with intent to sell a variety of drugs, including Farmapram, which is a Mexican brand of alprazolam (Xanax), counterfeit Adderall made of methamphetamine, fentanyl pills, MDMA and cocaine.


Miguel Angel Fajardo of Lawrence was sentenced to eight years in prison. Law enforcement found over seven kilos of fentanyl pills, an industrial pill press, and “M” and “30” pill stamps among other items in his apartment last March.

In the South


Martin Platero of Rogers, Arkansas received a seven-and-one-half-year prison sentence for leading a ring that distributed fentanyl pills disguised as Oxycontin. Platero is the last of five co-conspirators who were sentenced to more than 50 years combined.

Operation Task Force Arkansas, a three-month drug initiative which ended January 25 led to 66 arrests and the seizure of 20,700 counterfeit pills and more than two kilograms of other drugs.


Narcotics agents in Caddo Parish arrested a Shreveport man after finding him with $42,760 worth of illegal drugs, including approximately 900 fentanyl pills.

Deputies in Sabine Parish arrested a man in Zwolle after the search of two residences turned up over 400 fake oxycodone pills made with fentanyl, two bottles of promethazine syrup, cash and other drugs.


A Hattiesburg man was arrested for allegedly dealing fentanyl pills in Jones County.


A Wichita Falls resident was charged with killing Midwestern State University Texas student Adam Daniel Sattler by supplying him with a counterfeit Percocet pill made with fentanyl in September 2022.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas has charged a Texas man who they say supplied two Carrollton adults and teenage dealers with counterfeit pills that sent nine middle- and high-school students to the hospital and killed three of them.

The Collin County Sheriff’s Office and North Texas Sheriff’s Criminal Interdiction arrested a Dallas resident with about 6,000 fentanyl pills during a traffic stop in Plano.

Law enforcement in Potter County arrested two Amarillo residents after finding fentanyl pills in their house.

In the Midwest


Riley County Police arrested three people in Manhattan after finding approximately 300 suspected fentanyl pills during a warranted search.

Law enforcement in Garden City seized fentanyl, methamphetamine, marijuana, and counterfeit oxycodone pills during a traffic stop on February 8.


Police in Lincoln arrested two people and seized about 150 fentanyl pills and 251 alprazolam pills after allegedly watching a drug deal in the parking lot of a gun store. The arrests were part of a larger investigation into the sale of thousands of fake pills in the Lincoln area.

South Dakota

Justin Duane Langen of Yankton, South Dakota was sentenced to 10 years and one month in federal prison for dealing fentanyl pills.


Bahron Berkley-Dolphin of Green Bay received a 10-year sentence for dealing fentanyl pills after he sold fake Percocet to an informant in May 2022.

A federal jury also convicted two more Green Bay residents, brothers Don A.K. James, Jr. and Frederick L. Brewer, for trafficking thousands of fake Percocet pills made of fentanyl that James had purchased in Arizona.

Deputies with the Fond Du Lac Sheriff’s Office seized fentanyl pills and other illicit drugs during a traffic stop.

PSM maintains rss feeds for counterfeit medicine incidents for every U.S. state and Washington D.C. See the latest news in Wisconsin or find your state here.

In the Mountain West

A fake AA battery found to contain pills seized at Mariposa County's Intake, Transfer and Release facility.


CBP officers at the Port of Nogales seized more than 990,000 pills made of fentanyl between February 9 and February 12.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office reported seizing 500 suspected fentanyl pills from incoming inmates, including several pills hidden in a hollow battery, over the course of a few days.

Six families testified in front of the Arizona House Health and Human Services Committee to support the Ashley Dunn Act, which would establish drug trafficking homicide as a new level one felony in the state. Ashley Dunn, a 26-year-old Prescott Valley resident, died of fentanyl poisoning in 2021 after taking what she thought was an oxycodone pill.


A district one Idaho State Police captain speaking in Coeur d’Alene told his audience that state troopers had been seizing between 1,000 to 2,000 fentanyl pills each week.


James Robert Harrelson of Colorado Springs, Colorado received an 11-year prison sentence for meth and fentanyl trafficking. Yellowstone County law enforcement found meth, fentanyl pills, and drug paraphernalia in his vehicle during a traffic stop in April 2022.

Belgrade police officers found 280 fentanyl pills in a purse during a traffic stop.


Sparks, Nevada resident Jaime Collazo Munoz received a five-year federal prison sentence for dealing counterfeit pills made with fentanyl out of his barbershop.

New Mexico

New Mexico State Police officers seized $130,000 and nearly 230,000 fentanyl pills after a crash in Albuquerque on February 9.


A Utah Highway Patrol trooper discovered approximately 80,000 fentanyl pills — and three pounds of heroin during a traffic stop near Summit.

The FBI seized cash and fentanyl pills on Feb. 9, 2023. (FBI Albuquerque)

In the Pacific West


Stockton resident Alphonso Jimenez pleaded guilty to drug charges, including selling counterfeit prescription drugs made with fentanyl. When law enforcement searched his home in 2021, they seized 350 grams of fentanyl pills, $297,000, and 65 kilograms of other narcotics.

An Oakland man was indicted on fentanyl distribution charges after selling fentanyl pills and powder to undercover DEA agents in October, November, and December of last year.


Deschutes County Sheriff’s deputies discovered meth and counterfeit oxycodone pills suspected to contain fentanyl when they raided an RV parked among homeless residents in Bend, Oregon.


David Christopher Pitts of Renton received an 11-year federal prison sentencing after he sold fentanyl to someone working with law enforcement in December 2021. When they searched his home Seattle Police officers found 25 firearms, $55,000, a large quantity of illicit drugs, including ketamine and fentanyl in pill and powder form.

The Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney's Office filed a controlled substance homicide charge against a man who allegedly sold a 15-year-old Sumner resident the counterfeit Percocet pill that killed him in February 2022.

Police in Yakima arrested a Sunnyside resident they found slumped over in a car with approximately 2,000 fentanyl pills.

Officers in Bellingham discovered fentanyl pills in a car after a high-speed DUI pursuit.