Arizona drug busts: Some of our most recent, biggest seizures
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PHOENIX - The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration warned law enforcement agencies from coast to coast about a concerning spike of "mass-overdose events" involving the deadly and highly-addictive drug fentanyl.
The Arizona-Mexico border is no exception to the number of deadly drugs making their way over and killing many, and getting even more people in trouble with authorities.
Fentanyl is the single deadliest drug threat the nation has encountered, says the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and that's why it launched National Fentanyl Day, raising awareness of how deadly the drug is.
It's a synthetic opioid 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine, DEA says, adding that traffickers are mixing fentanyl with other drugs to drive addiction and create repeat customers.
In a previous report, FOX 10 sat down with the Special Agent in Charge at the Phoenix Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) the day before another drug bust was announced. Cheri Oz says she is terrified, as authorities seized nearly 12 million fentanyl pills in 2021, which is double the amount seized in 2020. DEA numbers also show more than five tons of meth were seized in 2021.
Oz says a lot of the drugs are coming from Mexico.
"The vast majority of the fentanyl, methamphetamine that we’re seizing in Arizona is made by the Sinaloa Cartel," said Oz. "The Sinaloa Cartel uses the routes that traffic the networks through Arizona, and that’s what we seize here in Arizona."
DEA officials say the primary supply source comes from China, but India is also providing fentanyl precursor chemicals to cartels.
Let's take a look at some of our biggest, most recent drug busts in Arizona.
$1.25M worth of fentanyl, meth, heroin recovered by authorities in Phoenix, DEA says
Luis Ronaldo Nieblas-Beltran is facing a slew of drug charges, the DEA says.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Phoenix announced the arrest of Luis Ronaldo Nieblas-Beltran on April 25 who is facing a slew of drug charges and is accused of being involved in a drug trafficking organization.
11K fentanyl pills, meth, guns seized in Phoenix drug bust
According to police, officers were investigating a person suspected of selling drugs, and after obtaining a search warrant, drugs, weapons, and cash were seized from the suspect's car and apartment in Phoenix. (Phoenix Police Department)
According to police, officers were investigating a person suspected of selling drugs, and after obtaining a search warrant, drugs, weapons, and cash were seized from the suspect's car and apartment in Phoenix.
Police seize $325K in cash, nearly 22,000 fentanyl pills, guns during north Phoenix traffic stop
"It is another example of great police work. This is something the department does on a daily basis," said Sgt. Vincent Cole with Phoenix Police.
The drug bust happened as officers were working near 19th Avenue and Dunlap, and learned about a car that was possibly transporting drugs. During the traffic stop, officers found $325,000 in cash, nearly 22,000 fentanyl pills, and multiple guns.
'Fetty Jeff' arrested after police seize fentanyl, meth, mushrooms, guns in north Phoenix drug bust
Police say a suspected drug dealer was arrested after officers seized fentanyl, meth, psychedelic mushrooms, and guns in north Phoenix.
According to court documents, the incident began as officers conducting a search warrant on a cellphone from an unrelated incident and found a text message from "Fetty Jeff."
More drug seizures and arrests
In Phoenix, three men are behind bars, after they were arrested on Feb. 3 and accused of distributing drugs out of a used car dealership. In this case, authorities seized 20 pounds of meth, 4,000 pills believed to contain fentanyl, and 14 firearms.
In the same city, investigators say an 18-year-old admitted to selling fentanyl pills he received from a Mexican drug cartel. DEA officials, in this case, seized 271,000 pills, along with meth, cocaine and about $250,000 in cash.
In Pinal County, deputies seized 227,000 fentanyl pills from a smuggler's car. The drugs were hidden in large, buffet-style trays of food.
In December 2011, a record bust took place in Scottsdale, where the DEA teamed up with Scottsdale Police and the Arizona Attorney General's Office to seize 1.7 million fentanyl pills, as well as 10kgs of fentanyl powder.