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DEA touts record drug bust in Phoenix-area, seizing $9M worth of fentanyl

Posted at 4:32 PM, Dec 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-17 18:34:49-05

PHOENIX, Ariz. (KGUN) — The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is touting a record drug bust in the Phoenix-area, authorities seizing $9 million worth of fentanyl.

As Special Agent in charge, Cheri Oz tells KGUN 9 that translates to lives saved across the country.

"We're talking about $1.7 million fentanyl pills seized. Which translates to over 700,000 lives potentially saved," Oz said.

The record seizure may have happened in Arizona, but those fentanyl pills would have been transported across the country.

Oz says the bust came after a months-long investigation related to the Sinaloa Cartel and their drug-trafficking activity across the state.

"An example like this just goes to show how bad the problem is. If we can store that many pills in a container that we can store Christmas decorations in think about the lives saved in this one bust," Oz said.

While fentanyl deaths are at an all-time high, this record bust caps off a campaign by the DEA called 'One Pill Can Kill.'

"The lethality of these fentanyl pills is at 42%. Which means that four out of every ten pills could potentially contain a lethal dose," Oz said.

She says the fentanyl-laced pills are disguised as prescription drugs.

Oz's advice is to only take pills prescribed by a doctor and purchased at a pharmacy.

She says Arizona DEA agents are redoubling their efforts after the loss of Group Supervisor Mike Garbo who was shot and killed on an Amtrak train back in October here in Tucson.

"It's very difficult for my division to carry on without him. But we are, I guess, more motivated because we need to carry his sword and we need to carry on," Oz said.

She tells KGUN 9 that she's proud of the partnership her office has with local law enforcement and the Arizona Attorney General's Office.