DEA launches effort to stop flood of deadly fentanyl into U.S., Kansas

Published: Apr. 27, 2021 at 6:03 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Drug Enforcement Agency on Tuesday, announced an initiative to stop the flow of the drug, fentanyl, into the U.S. and into individual states like Kansas.

“Project Wave Breaker will direct interdiction, enforcement, and outreach efforts to the DEA Houston Division to disrupt the flow of fentanyl in and around the United States,” the DEA explained. “The initiative will also employ analytical intelligence assets to target the activities of Mexican transnational criminal organizations, which are the primary suppliers and distributors of illicit fentanyl and fentanyl substances throughout the United States.”

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is cheap to produce and is deadly. It’s brought to the U.S. in the form of fake pharmaceutical pills, and just one kilogram can contain 5,000 lethal doses.

“For the division last year, we seized 81 kilograms said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Change Regeana Patterson-King, representing a region that includes Kansas.

That’s more than 40 million potentially lethal doses seized by the section of the DEA that oversees Missouri, Illinois and Kansas. Patterson-King said the drugs are coming from the southern U.S. border.

“We are working cases that are linking us right back to the Mexican cartels,” she said. “Specifically the Sinaloa Cartel.”

The southern border is where it starts. The fentanyl is smuggled into the country and distributed farther and farther all the time. What gets smuggled through Arizona passes through New Mexico and Oklahoma, ending up in Wichita, Kansas.

Last year, the CDC counts more than 87,200 deaths from overdoses. Deaths involving synthetic opioids increased by nearly 60 percent, Patterson-King said.

“These drug traffickers just have a disregard for life because we’re actually looking at overdoses in our area as a crime scene,” she said. “Because when these people die and these drug traffickers make a conscious decision to make counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl that they know can kill people. They’re murderers.”

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