Record-Breaking Drug Bust Valued Between $15 to $20 Million Linked to Sinaloa Cartel


About 1 million pills containing fentanyl were seized by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in California, who believe they are linked to the Sinaloa Cartel.

Officials say this is the biggest drug bust in California’s history with a street value of somewhere between $15-$20 million, according to the DEA’s press release regarding the seizure. 

Authorities executed a search warrant on July 5 at a residence in Inglewood, California, which resulted in the seizure of the fake fentanyl-laced pills.

The fake pills were believed to be intended for retail distribution.

“DEA agents identified Southern California narcotic couriers and stash house managers who were responsible for distributing narcotics to other drug distributors in the area,” the DEA said in their press release.

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The DEA’s Los Angeles Field Division High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), the DEA New York Division Tactical Diversion Squad, and Hawthorne Police Department have all been investigating the Los Angeles area drug trafficking. 

Officials said in the DEA’s statement that the investigation began in May, and officials believe the unprecedented amount of drugs were in the United States due to the Sinaloa Cartel.

Per the BBC, Sinaloa Cartel was a criminal gang run by drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. The cartel is believed to control the drug trade through much of North-West Mexico.

“This massive seizure disrupted the flow of dangerous amounts of fentanyl into our streets and probably saved many lives,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Bill Bodner according to his agency.

Bodner went on to say in the statement, “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. A staggering number of teens and young adults are unaware that they are ingesting fentanyl in these fake pills and are being poisoned.”

USA Today reports that recent data estimates over 107,000 people died due to drug overdose in the U.S. in 2021.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that fentanyl is typically 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, and was approved for treating severe pain. 

The DEA said in its statement that criminal drug networks are creating fake pills designed to look like real prescription pills and selling them illegally. 

The drug enforcement group reported that illegal drug smuggling groups are known to copy opioid medications such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and alprazolam, as well as stimulants like the amphetamines used for ADHD. 

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