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Area DEA breaks fentanyl seizure record in 2021

Fentanyl is often hidden inside blue pills like these.
Fentanyl is often hidden inside blue pills like these.(Drug Enforcement Administration)
Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 9:53 AM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (Edited News Release/KY3) - The Drug Enforcement Administration’s St. Louis Division broke a fentanyl seizure record for 2021 with nearly 188 kilograms seized through Missouri, Kansas, and southern Illinois.

Agents and task force officers seized 1,848 kilograms of methamphetamine and 73 kilograms of heroin. The meth seizure amount was also the most in the division’s history. Investigators also seized 347 weapons.

Topping off the St. Louis Division’s statistics for 2021 were its efforts to curtail money laundering by drug trafficking organizations, seizing and stopping $15.8 million from reaching its organization leaders.

“With overdose deaths soaring nationwide, the DEA’s efforts to seize illegal drugs, the illegal proceeds, and the guns associated with these violent enterprises is more important than ever,” said Special Agent in Charge Todd Zimmerman. “The credit goes to our agents, task force officers, and the staff who support them. We’ll continue to do our part to prevent drug trafficking organizations from profiting from their criminal activities and causing harm in our communities.”

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is used for pain in a pharmaceutical setting and is 50 times more potent than heroin. However, drug cartels have been attempting to distribute fentanyl in record amounts, leading to an alarming increase in overdose deaths. DEA put out a safety alert in September about fentanyl in counterfeit pills, which is responsible for 75% of opioid overdose deaths.

DEA St. Louis Division seized 82 kilograms of fentanyl in the fiscal year 2020 and 104 kilograms in the fiscal year 2019.

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