Drug enforcement agents arrested more than 800 people and seized 1.8 million counterfeit pills laced with the synthetic opioid fentanyl as part of a two-month crackdown on online sales of the deadly drug. Also seized were 158 weapons, and enough powder fentanyl to make millions of deadly tablets.
The seizures add to the nearly 9.6 million counterfeit pills the DEA has confiscated this year which is more than was seized in the two previous years combined. The number of fake pills found to contain fentanyl rose nearly 430% since 2019.
The fake tablets are mass-produced by Mexican cartels using chemicals from China and sold on social media and e-commerce sites, according to officials who have criticized social media companies for failing to stop the online sale of a growing number of counterfeit pills that look similar to prescription pills.