- About 30 million potentially lethal doses of fentanyl were found during an Arizona police investigation.
- The drugs were worth about $13 million and included substances like meth, cocaine, and heroin.
- Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is the leading cause of drug overdose-related deaths in the United States.
The Arizona police announced a major drug bust on Thursday, where they seized drugs worth $13 million — including 30 million potentially lethal doses of fentanyl, a highly potent opioid.
The Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA, said in a Thursday statement that the three-year-long investigation targeted the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel.
The seized drugs included 4.5 million fake prescription pills laced with fentanyl, 145 pounds of fentanyl powder, 304 pounds of cocaine, 3,100 pounds of methamphetamine, and 77 pounds of heroin, the release stated.
A picture of the seized drugs was also released by the authorities.
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times more powerful than morphine.
Just about two milligrams of the drug can be lethal, depending on the size of the person consuming it, according to the DEA. For comparison, that quantity would fit into the tip of a pencil.
Currently, it is one of the top substances leading to lethal drug overdose in the United States. A majority of the 107,500 deaths linked to drug overdoses in the 12 months ending August 2022 have been caused by fentanyl, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
These include fentanyl consumed either on its own or mixed with other drugs, the report, released earlier this month, said.
Police also seized 49 firearms and over $2 million in cash, CNN reported on Sunday, citing Josie Montenegro, the interim police chief of Tempe.
The investigation — which charged 150 individuals — was jointly conducted by the DEA, the Tempe Police, and the Arizona Attorney General, the press release states.
“The Sinaloa Cartel is responsible for nearly all deadly narcotics flooding into Arizona,” the press release said. The cartel, which has been operating since the 1980s, is responsible for the biggest shipments of fentanyl to the US.
Last year, the DEA in Arizona seized over $22 million in fentanyl-laced fake prescription pills and about 1,100 pounds of fentanyl powder, the press release said.
Representatives of the DEA, the Arizona Attorney General’s office, and the Tempe Police did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.