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1 million fake pills containing fentanyl seized from Inglewood home in DEA's biggest California bust

DEA makes historic fentanyl bust in Inglewood
DEA makes historic fentanyl bust in Inglewood 00:30

About 1 million fake pills containing fentanyl were seized during a record-breaking bust in Inglewood, DEA officials announced Thursday.

(credit: DEA)

The record-breaking haul of fake pills believed to contain fentanyl were seized at an Inglewood home on July 5, according to DEA officials. The pills have an estimated street value of $15 to $20 million.

"The deceptive marketing coupled with the ease of accessibility makes these small and seemingly innocuous pills a significant threat to the health and safety of all our communities," Bill Bodner, DEA Special-Agent-in-Charge, said in a statement. "A staggering number of teens and young adults are unaware that they are ingesting fentanyl in these fake pills and are being poisoned."

The DEA says the seizure of fentanyl pills is the biggest they have made in California.

Agents with the DEA's High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Group 48 made the bust earlier this month following an investigation of an LA-area drug trafficking group believed to be linked to the Sinaloa Cartel. During the investigation, the DEA said they identified Southern California-based drug couriers and stash house managers who were tasked with distribution.

"These pills that are on the street, even though they look identical to oxycodone pills they're fake," Bodner said in an interview. "There [are] no active pharmaceutical ingredients in them. They are made with fentanyl and they are terribly dangerous. That's why we're seeing death numbers rise in L.A. County."

The greater Los Angeles area was identified by the DEA as a major transshipment hub where illegal drugs coming from across the border are being stored in local warehouses, storage units, and homes. The drugs are then broken down into smaller quantities for transport to other states and distributed to dealers, a task made easier thanks to the area's many international airports, freeways, and bus and train lines.

DEA officials did not say if any arrests were made, and the investigation into the drug trafficking organization is ongoing.

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid up to 100 times stronger than morphine, is believed to be behind the nationwide spike in drug overdose deaths. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the Los Angeles Unified School District have issued warnings to parents about fentanyl after three young girls overdosed in Santa Monica, suffering severe "neurological consequences." 

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