SCOTTSDALE, AZ — An estimated $9M worth of fentanyl is now off the streets after Scottsdale police worked with the DEA to make a record bust, equivalent to 1.7 million pills.
That means, more than 300 pounds of drugs were taken off the streets in the recent seizure.
It’s a bust that Scottsdale police say could very well have saved hundreds of thousands of lives.
“This is not a recreational drug. This is death,” said Scottsdale Police Chief Jeff Walther at a Thursday press conference.
Chief Walther says the Scottsdale DEA Task Force had been investigating the Sinaloa cartel for months. This investigation eventually led them to several homes and lockers full of illegal drugs.
“Fentanyl, which has really hit the market for us, is what is driving our opioid crisis,” he added.
Though, that’s not all they found.
“It also included 10 kilos of powdered fentanyl and one pound of methamphetamine,” said Chief Walther.
“You’re talking about more than 4 million more pills that could have been made. I want to put that in context. We’re talking about 6 million fentanyl pills. That is enough to kill more than half the population of the state of Arizona,” said Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich during the press conference.
DEA Special Agent Cheri Oz also expressed her concern with drugs coming into Arizona from south of the U.S. border, in light of the recent busts.
“During the two-month surge, we seized 3 million pills, 45 kilos of fentanyl powders, over 35 firearms, and arrested over 40 drug traffickers,” she added.
Special Agent Oz says these dealers are evolving their techniques to distribute, now using social media to sell drugs.
“They are posting emojis and coded lingo that has specific meanings. We urge you to talk to your children about these specific pills,” she added.
Oz says, since January, DEA agents have seized more than 9.5 million pills in Arizona, far exceeding last year’s numbers.
“DEA's priority is saving lives. We will not stop,” said Special Agent Oz.
“Because this is just flowing, like a river, into Arizona, and then has tendrils that are going around the country,” added Chief Walther.
DEA lab testing results show that four out of every 10 pills with fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose.