50,000 Fake Pills Seized in San Diego
50,000 Fake Pills Containing Fentanyl Seized in San Diego on June 28, 2022.
SAN DIEGO – Approximately 50,000 fake pills containing fentanyl were seized in a single enforcement operation in San Diego on June 28, 2022. Investigators from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Narcotic Task Force (NTF) and the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) worked together to prevent the fake pills from being distributed. Berenice Sanchez-Tapia, age 47, was arrested on state narcotics charges and is scheduled to be arraigned today.
“This seizure is a great example of the successful collaboration between multiple law enforcement agencies determined to prevent fake pills from making it to the streets of San Diego,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Shelly Howe. “DEA will continue to work with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to seize fake pills that endanger our community.”
“This seizure is another great example of how SDPD’s partnerships with federal task forces keep our neighborhoods safe,” said SDPD Chief David Nisleit. “Getting these 50,000 pills off the streets has undoubtedly prevented serious harm to our community."
The DEA saw nearly a 313 percent increase in fentanyl seizures in San Diego County from 2019 to 2021. 2,715 kilograms of fentanyl was seized in San Diego County in 2021, compared to 658 kilograms in 2019. These seizure numbers include fake pills and powders containing fentanyl and are projected to increase for 2022.
Fentanyl overdose deaths and poisonings also continue to rise in San Diego County. During the same time period, overdose deaths rose by 441 percent; from 151 deaths in 2019 to 817 deaths in 2021. Fake pills containing fentanyl are more lethal than ever before. DEA laboratory testing reveals that four out of ten fake pills contain a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl.
In addition to the law enforcement officers assigned to DEA's NTF who investigate individuals that import and distribute narcotics, the DEA created the Overdose response team to combat the rise in overdose deaths in San Diego County. SDPD currently has two detectives assigned to the Overdose Response Team.
AGENCIES: San Diego Police Department, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, San Diego County District Attorney’s Office