DEA, NY Officials Seize 15,000 Rainbow Fentanyl Pills Hidden In A Box Of Legos In NYC

Officials issued a warning to Americans after a drug bust found thousands of deadly rainbow fentanyl pills in a box of Legos.

In a press release Tuesday, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and New York City and state police officials announced the seizure of more than 15,000 of the rainbow-colored fentanyl pills a part of an ongoing investigation into a fentanyl trafficking network. The seizure is the largest to date in New York City; it comes as multiple cities across the country are finding more of the deadly drug in bright colors aimed toward children.

“Rainbow fentanyl is a clear and present danger, and it is here in New York City,” Frank A. Tarentino III, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Division, said in a statement. “Approximately forty percent of the pills we analyze in our lab contain a lethal dose; and in a recent 15-week enforcement operation, DEA New York seized half a million lethal pills. These staggering statistics underscore the importance of reminding the public that just one pill can kill; and this operation alone removed the equivalent of 500,000 lethal doses of fentanyl from circulation in the Empire State. In the same reporting period, DEA seized the equivalent of over 36 million lethal doses nationally.”

According to the release, New York-based DEA agents were conducting surveillance as part of their drug trafficking operation when they observed a female suspect carrying a large unknown object in a black tote bag, then entering a vehicle with the bag. Local police and DEA agents stopped the vehicle; they found the suspect in the back seat of the car with two black tote bags and a yellow Lego box. Inside the Lego box were several brick-shaped packages covered with black tape. One of the packages was partially opened, revealing the pills.

A subsequent examination found over 15,000 pills. The pills were in multiple colors and marked with the number 30 and the letter “M,” symbolizing 30 mg oxycodone pills. Agents and officers also learned that the pills originated in Mexico.

“The case highlights Mexican cartels’ most recent tactics to attract the public while deceiving them about the lethal drugs,” the DEA said in the press release. “The Sinaloa Cartel and Jalisco New Generation Cartel are mass-producing fentanyl pills in rainbow colors to not only brand their products, but use colors and dyes to mimic candy and/or legitimate prescription drugs.”

Rainbow fentanyl was discovered in August when 15,000 pills were found at the port of entry in Nogales, Arizona. Agents at the Nogales port of entry seized more than a million fentanyl pills in the first week of August, The Daily Wire reported. But DEA officials had reported seizing similar pills in the Washington, D.C., area over the past 18 months. And the Multnomah County, Oregon, Sheriff’s Department found several grams of rainbow fentanyl resembling sidewalk chalk, a form considered more potent than pressed pills.

The DEA advised the public to be aware of the “emerging trend” of rainbow fentanyl in August. “In August 2022, DEA and our law enforcement partners seized brightly-colored fentanyl and fentanyl pills in 18 states,” the agency said. “Dubbed ‘rainbow fentanyl’ in the media, this trend appears to be a new method used by drug cartels to sell highly addictive and potentially deadly fentanyl made to look like candy to children and young people.”

DEA told ABC7 New York Wednesday that it is important to warn Americans of rainbow fentanyl ahead of Halloween, since the pills are made to look like common candy.

 


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