INGLEWOOD, California — Approximately 1 million fake pills containing fentanyl worth as much as $20 million have been confiscated by the the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the largest seizure of fentanyl pills ever made in California.
“This massive seizure disrupted the flow of dangerous amounts of fentanyl into our streets and probably saved many lives,” special agent-in-charge Bill Bodner said in a statement released by 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.
“A staggering number of teens and young adults are unaware that they are ingesting fentanyl in these fake pills and are being poisoned.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 107,000 people have died as a result of a drug overdose or poisoning in the U.S.
Federal agents found the pills during the search of a home in Inglewood on July 5. The fake pills were intended for retail distribution and have an estimated street value of $15 million to $20 million dollars.
The search was the result of an investigation into a Los Angeles-area drug trafficking organization believed to be linked to the Sinaloa Cartel, according to the DEA. Agents identified Southern California narcotic couriers and stash house managers who were responsible for distributing narcotics to other drug distributors in the area.
The DEA says the Los Angeles area is a major hub for illegal drugs coming from the southwest border. The drugs are stored in warehouses, storage units, and residential properties.
The bulk shipments of drugs usually are broken down into smaller quantities and transported to other states or distributed to local dealers. The DEA says the Los Angeles area has many airports, freeways, and bus and train lines that make it easy for shipments to be smuggled to other destinations.
The fake pills are designed to look like real prescription pills and include stamping that resemble real prescription opioids, such as Adderall, authorities say.