Listen to this article Authorities Seize 4.5M Fentanyl Pills and 3,000 Lbs Of Meth
Arizona Authorities Seize 4.5 Million Fentanyl Pills and 3,000 Pounds of Meth in Major Drug Bust
Arizona authorities, including the Tempe Police Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Arizona Attorney General’s Office, held a press conference on Thursday to share details about a major drug bust. The investigation lasted three years, and the authorities have seized an estimated 4.5 million fentanyl pills and 3,000 pounds of methamphetamine. Authorities seized large amounts of heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl powder, and they also confiscated approximately 50 firearms.
Significance of the Bust
Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes called the bust significant, but also noted that there is a lot of the drug coming across the border. Fentanyl is highly addictive and deadly, and has been responsible for a surge in overdose deaths in recent years. Mayes said that the drug is “killing our kids and destroying and tearing our families apart in Arizona, but it’s also impacting the rest of the country.” She urged law enforcement agencies and attorney generals across the country to be laser-focused on stopping this drug.
Details of the Operation
Authorities did not reveal specific details of the operation, but they displayed the drugs seized on Thursday. The investigation resulted in the seizure of approximately 138 kilos of cocaine, 66 kilos of fentanyl powder, and $2 million in cash. More than 150 individuals have been charged over the course of the three-year investigation.
The Sinaloa Drug Cartel
Mayes called out the Sinaloa drug cartel by name, calling them “evil.” The Biden administration recently sanctioned key members of the Sinaloa cartel who provided chemicals for their labs. Ioan Grillo, a longtime journalist in Mexico covering drugs and organized crime, said that the Sinaloa cartel targets certain cities as hubs to mass-distribute fentanyl, and that Phoenix, Arizona, is one of those hubs.
Challenges in Stopping the Cartel
Stopping the Sinaloa cartel will be a Herculean challenge, according to Grillo. It is likely that there still exist hundreds of thousands of cartel operatives in Mexico, with many of them concealed in cities, towns, and houses, constantly on the move. Grillo said that the cartel is much more cautious in carrying out murder in the U.S. rather than in Mexico, and there is a concern that the violence could increase in the United States, or there could be a response to law enforcement.
Potential Solution: Charging Dealers with Murder
Another tactic that some states have implemented is charging dealers with murder if they sell fentanyl to someone that results in their death. This is a bill that is currently making its way through the Arizona legislature. As of Thursday, the proposal passed out of its first Senate committee and could be heading to the House soon.
Another Major Drug Bust
Just hours before Thursday’s news conference, authorities announced another major drug bust at the southern border and along I-10 between Phoenix and Tucson. Troopers confiscated an estimated $9.4 million worth of drugs, approximately 1,500 pounds of meth, fentanyl pills, and cocaine, over the course of four days in that operation.