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Cartel busts and social media stings lead to the seizure of 36 million lethal doses of fentanyl by the DEA

The DEA recently announced the results of the country-wide operation that pushed to get the deadly drug off the streets.

PHOENIX — >> Editor's note: The above video is from a previously aired broadcast.

Even as the fentanyl crisis continues to grow, a recent DEA operation has taken over 10.2 million 'fake pills' containing fentanyl, and almost 1,000 punds of fentanyl powder off the streets.

On Wednesday, the DEA's Phoenix office released the results of a country-wide enforcement operation that spanned from May to September. It's part of their One Pill Can Kill initiative.

Working with local law enforcement partners, the DEA seized over 10.2 million fentanyl pills and roughly 980 pounds of fentanyl powder from May 23 through Sept. 8.

With just two milligrams considered to be a potentially lethal dose, that adds up to approximately 36 million lethal doses of the synthetic opioid. 

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Authorities also seized 338 weapons during the operation, including rifles, shotguns, pistols, and hand grenades.

Law enforcement investigated 390 cases during the operation. 51 of those cases were linked to overdose poisoning, and 35 were linked directly to Mexican cartels. 129 investigations were linked to social media like Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and TikTok, according to the results.

In 2021, 107,622 American citizens died from drug poisoning or overdose, and the DEA says that 66 percent of those were linked to synthetic opioids like fentanyl.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) offers a list of resources and information for community members looking to learn more about the risks fentanyl poses.

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