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DEA reports its largest seizure of fentanyl pills likely linked to Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel

Mexico City, Mexico — The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has reported on a large fentanyl pill seizure that they believed in linked to Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel.

In a press release, the agency reported that the Los Angeles Field Division High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) seized approximately 1 million fake pills containing fentanyl in Inglewood, California earlier this month.

This record-breaking bust is the largest seizure of fentanyl pills the DEA has made in California. They say the group, along with the DEA New York Division Tactical Diversion Squad and Hawthorne Police Department, began investigating a Los Angeles-area drug trafficking organization believed to be linked to the Sinaloa Cartel in May.

During the investigation, DEA agents identified Southern California narcotic couriers and stash house managers who were responsible for distributing narcotics to other drug distributors in the area.

A federal search warrant was executed on July 5, 2022 at an Inglewood residence resulted in the seizure of approximately 1 million fake pills containing fentanyl. The seized fake pills were intended for retail distribution and have an estimated street value of $15 to $20 million dollars.

“This massive seizure disrupted the flow of dangerous amounts of fentanyl into our streets and probably saved many lives,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Bill Bodner.

The fake pills containing fentanyl were found in duffle bags in a warehouse. Photo: U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (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. A staggering number of teens and young adults are unaware that they are ingesting fentanyl in these fake pills and are being poisoned.”

The greater Los Angeles area is a major transshipment hub where illegal drugs coming from the southwest border are stored in local warehouses, storage units, and residential properties.

In early July in Culiacán, Sinaloa, elements of Sedena and the National Guard seized 542.7 kilos of the drug, the highest recorded to date.

The drug was located inside a warehouse in the Las Palmas neighborhood in the municipality of Culiacán. Authorities say the warehouse was used as a space for the collection of drugs by members of organized crime based in the state.

“This seizure of pure fentanyl is considered the largest in history and would have an estimated price in the national market of 970 million pesos,” the agency said in a statement.