According to the Dea, Fentanyl Seizures Are Increasing in Colorado as Cartels Expand Into New Areas

According to the Dea, Fentanyl Seizures Are Increasing in Colorado as Cartels Expand Into New Areas

DENVER, Colorado — The Drug Enforcement Administration reports that fentanyl seizures in Colorado are at record highs. The agency attributes part of this increase to cartels expanding into new areas and supplying greater amounts of the drug.

Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Rocky Mountain Field Division and DEA spokesman Dave Olesky claimed that his agents are busting drugs in Utah, Wyoming, and Montana and are seeing an increase in cartel activity.

According to Olesky, agents have observed drugs that are usually linked to cartels in eastern Washington entering Montana.

“We have also seen local street gangs that might be more common in Detroit and the East Coast actually coming into the state of Montana to compete for that territory because the price per pill is so much higher up there,” said Olesky.

With over 2.6 million pills seized in Colorado in 2023, the Rocky Mountain Field Division exceeded its previous record for fentanyl seizures last year, and it is now on pace to surpass that amount this year.

“Two years ago, the quantities of fentanyl that we are currently witnessing in the Denver area were usually found in one of the distribution cities located in Phoenix or Los Angeles. However, Olesky noted that the frequency and amount of fentanyl being confiscated in those locations are increasing exponentially these days, with 100,000 quantity seizures “sadly becoming the norm” in the Denver metro area.

According to the DEA, a lethal quantity of fentanyl is now included in seven out of ten illegal tablets. The synthetic pills are inexpensive to produce and easily become addicted to, so there is an endless supply and demand for them.

Olesky stated that the manufacturers of the tablets don’t give a damn if they are safe as long as they can get a profit. Additionally, he stated that the DEA is looking into Chinese criminal groups who assist cartels in producing fentanyl at a low cost, therefore contributing to the fentanyl issue.

“The Mexican drug trafficking organizations are able to produce this as simply as whether it’s a super lab or a garage in Mexico,” said Olesky.

Despite efforts by the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection to prevent the drug from entering the country, Teller County, Colorado, sheriff Jason Mikesell stated he believes the migrant crisis at the southern border has led to the fentanyl increase in Colorado.

“Why is fentanyl usage in Colorado increasing to such an extreme degree? Ten hours separate us from El Paso. They are flocking here in the hopes of finding a place to live,” Mikesell remarked.

Olesky, however, thinks the spike is the result of several causes.

“Certainly there is a border piece to this, but then there’s also got to be the outreach piece, the education piece,” Olesky stated.

Talking about the risks of fentanyl overdose is one of the best strategies to prevent fentanyl poisoning, according to Olesky, as the tablets may be easily hidden and occasionally even packed in vibrant colors to draw in kids.

According to the CDC, drug overdoses, which are mostly caused by fentanyl, are the main cause of mortality for adults between the ages of 18 and 45.

According to the government, the number of drug overdose deaths nearly tripled from 8.2 per 100,000 people to 32.6 per 100,000 between 2000 and 2022.

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