CO: DEA busts drug ring tied to Sinaloa Cartel

A major drug bust ring tied to the Sinaloa Cartel results in the seizure of more than 110,000 fake prescription pills laced with fentanyl

“These counterfeit pills, we’re seeing the most we’ve ever seen here in the United States,” says Dante Sorianello, the assistant special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in the San Antonio district.

A major drug bust ring tied to the Sinaloa Cartel results in the seizure of more than 110,000 fake prescription pills laced with fentanyl, made in Mexico, taken down by the DEA in Denver, Colorado.

“The Sinaloa Cartel is very much responsible for importing and distributing a lot of the fentanyl in the country right now,” says Sorianello.

According to the District’s Attorney’s Office, along with the fentanyl-laced pills, authorities also seized six kilos of meth, eight pounds of heroin, 11 kilos of cocaine, and 450-thousand dollars. In addition, investigators found 28 firearms, multiple hand grenades, high capacity magazines, and several sets of body armor.

Sorianello says he knows all too well how the Sinaloa Cartel affects our area.

“The majority of the fentanyl being smuggled here by the Sinaloa Cartel is in pill form, the counterfeit pills that we see, the fake oxycodone and the fake hydrocodone – is out there. And that is how Sinaloa is affecting the San Antonio region right now,” says Sorianello.

Working jointly with their partner agencies, the eight-month-long investigations led to the indictment of 19 individuals and the arrest of 10 individuals operating in the Denver area of Colorado.

The DEA says it’s not just about the arrests and seizures, it signifies the alarming trend in counterfeit prescription pills laced with fentanyl.

“Every year, the amount of fentanyl and the counter counterfeit pills is growing here in the country. Along with that, what we are seeing is the overdose deaths throughout the country,” says Sorianello.

As the CDC reported, a record number of people have died from overdoses in one year’s time. The DEA says the majority of them are dying from taking just one counterfeit prescription pill laced with fentanyl.

“So you can make the correlation that the drug traffickers, the cartels are killing people in the United States. They’re not forcing them to take that narcotic, but they’re supplying the poison that is killing people in the United States,” says Sorianello.

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