More Than Three Million Lethal Doses of Fentanyl Seized in Minnesota Last Year
OMAHA, Neb. –The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is reporting a 30 percent increase in fentanyl seizures in Minnesota for 2020, after investigators pulled 6.2 kilograms, or the equivalent of more than three million lethal doses, off the streets. Included in the 6.2 kilograms are more than 55,000 counterfeit pills, many laced with potentially lethal doses of fentanyl.
Counterfeit pill seizures in Minnesota jumped 366 percent from 2018, when agents seized less than 1,500 counterfeit pills. Fentanyl is up to 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin. A lethal dose of fentanyl consists of two milligrams, equal in size to a few grains of salt. The DEA’s Fentanyl Signature Profiling Program found that 26 percent of illicit fentanyl pills examined in 2019 contained potentially lethal doses of fentanyl. Counterfeit pills can be difficult to distinguish from legitimate medications and are often marketed as M30s, Perc30s, Blues or Mexican Oxy.
“We’re continuing to see a sharp increase in counterfeit pills across Minnesota,” DEA Omaha Division Special Agent in Charge Justin C. King said. “Within the first 10 weeks of 2021, joint DEA investigations conducted along with federal, state, and local counterparts have resulted in the seizures of close to 21,000 pills. We want people to be aware of the dangers these counterfeit pills carry with them. The only prescription medication people should take are those prescribed by a licensed physician and coming directly from a pharmacy.”
While fentanyl and counterfeit pills were trending upward in 2020, methamphetamine remained the most commonly seized drug in Minnesota. Approximately 1,150 pounds of methamphetamine were seized, including 381 pounds seized in a single event in February, 2020.
Marijuana (384 kg) and heroin (11.7 kg) round out the top three most seized drugs in Minnesota in 2020, with fentanyl ranking fourth.
The DEA Omaha Division is a five state territory that includes Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota as well as counties along the western border of Illinois and Wisconsin.