As per DEA, U.S. fentanyl bust in Lego box points to Mexican cartels
According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the largest such seizure in New York City to date involved the entrapment of 15,000 rainbow-colored fentanyl pills in a Lego toy box. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50 times stronger than heroin, is one of the main causes of the nationwide overdose epidemic in the United States, which has killed more than 100,000 people in the past year.
The DEA stated on Tuesday that the New York seizure indicates a wider distribution of the colorful pills, which are thought to be primarily supplied by the Sinaloa cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, two of Mexico’s most powerful criminal gangs. According to the agency, the cartels mass produce fentanyl pills in rainbow colors to brand them and mimic candy and prescription drugs.
“Using happy colors to make a deadly drug seem fun and harmless is a new low, even for the Mexican cartels,” said New York City’s narcotics prosecutor Bridget Brennan in a statement, noting that fentanyl is responsible for more than 80% of fatal overdoses in the city. Agent Frank Tarentino of the DEA stated, “These staggering statistics underscore the importance of reminding the public that just one pill can kill.”
At the border with Mexico, the United States has recently noticed an increase in fentanyl seizures. It announced in July that it had seized nearly 1,200 pounds (540 kilograms) of the drug in the state of Sinaloa, which was its largest ever. A dose of just two milligrams is thought to be fatal. The death toll from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids increased by more than 20% last year to over 70,000, more than twice as many as from meth overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States. The DEA stated that approximately two out of every five pills analyzed contained a lethal dose. The DEA claimed to have seized the equivalent of half a million lethal doses in New York during a recent 15-week operation.