Law enforcement seized about one million counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl at a residence in the Los Angeles suburb of Inglewood last week, the DEA announced on Thursday.
The pills have an estimated street value of $15 to $20 million and are believed to be linked to a drug trafficking ring associated with the Sinaloa Cartel.
“This massive seizure disrupted the flow of dangerous amounts of fentanyl into our streets and probably saved many lives,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Bill Bodner said in a statement.
Fentanyl, a dangerous opioid up to 100 times stronger than morphine, was detected in about two-thirds of the record 107,622 fatal drug overdoses last year, according to the CDC.
Drug dealers often lace fentanyl with other drugs, such as heroin and counterfeit pills, to increase their profits, according to the DEA.
“The deceptive marketing coupled with the ease of accessibility makes these small and seemingly innocuous pills a significant threat to the health and safety of all our communities,” Bodner said. “A staggering number of teens and young adults are unaware that they are ingesting fentanyl in these fake pills and are being poisoned.”
Los Angeles is a common stopping point for drug trafficking rings due to the city’s proximity to the southern border and the many airports and freeways that make it easy to smuggle drugs to other destinations throughout the United States.
The DEA seized more than 3 million fentanyl pills last year in the greater Los Angeles area, almost three times as much as they seized in 2020. About 1.5 million fentanyl pills have been seized this year.