DEA launches new program to stop flood of deadly fentanyl
TOPEKA, Kan. – The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced a new initiative to stop the flow of deadly drugs into the United States.
The DEA is creating a new project ‘Project Wave Breaker’ to help the St. Louis division including Kansas and Missouri.
”More of these counterfeit pills are a danger because just one pill can kill,” Assistant Special Agent for St. Louis division, Rogeana Patterson-King said.
The Drug Enforcement agency reports activities of Mexican criminal organizations are the main suppliers and distributors of fentanyl.
“DEA basically evaluated where the common prominent amount of seizures were happening regarding fentanyl and synthetic opioids,” Patterson-King explained. “St. Louis division happens to be one of the 11 that were found to be responsible for 85% of the deaths in synthetic opioid seizures and fentanyl seizures in the US.”
The organization says Mexican cartels have capitalized on the opioid epidemic, prescription drug misuse, and abuse in the United States, that is what’s driving the record-setting rates of overdose deaths.
“So far, for this fiscal year or since September 2020, we’ve had 48 kg of drug seized. So we’re already surpassing last year as far as the amount of dope and we’re starting to see more and more of counterfeit pills,” Patterson-King said. “These counterfeit pills are coming from Mexico, across our borders entering through on San Diego, El Paso into Phoenix areas and coming and moving across heading north, east into Chicago, New York and we’re seeing the more and more like landing in Wichita.”
According to the most recently published CDC data, more than 87-thousand people died of overdoses last year -that’s the largest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period.
The DEA says their DNA lab-tested these counterfeit pills and that’s caused seizures. According to the DEA, it only takes 0.2 milligrams per tablet for it to be a deadly dose.
“They could make a potential of 500,000 deadly doses. In this program, the ‘Project Wave Breaker’ is just going to enhance our resources and capabilities to attack this,” Patterson-King said.
The agency is confident their new “Project Wave Breaker” will reduce the amount of illegal drugs coming in and out of the U.S.
“Bringing these resources to bear here in our arm in the state of Kansas will help tremendously, because along with the project comes resources and funding to do additional operations, to potentially get additional work with the locals,” Patterson-King said. “As far as assigning like task force officers to assist with the investigation so it’s a force multiplier for us because it brings along with the resources that we need in combating this threat.”