EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The Drug Enforcement Administration announced the seizure of over 50.6 million fentanyl-laced, fake prescription pills and more than 10,000 pounds of fentanyl powder this calendar year. The El Paso Division, which covers West Texas and the whole state of New Mexico, seized 2,886,783 of those pills and 261.5 of those pounds.

The DEA Laboratory estimates that the El Paso seizures represent more than 9.8 million potentially deadly doses of fentanyl. Those deadly doses could kill the entire state of New Mexico plus the 17 counties of West Texas the El Paso division serves.

Fentanyl is the deadliest drug threat facing this country. It is a highly addictive man-made opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin. Just two milligrams of fentanyl, the small amount that fits on the tip of a pencil, is considered a potentially deadly dose.

“The men and women of the DEA El Paso Division have relentlessly worked to seize these nearly 10 million deadly doses of fentanyl from communities across West Texas and New Mexico,” said Greg Millard, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s El Paso Division. “These seizures reflect our unwavering commitment to protect the communities where we live and work. The men and women of the DEA’s El Paso Division tenaciously resolve to pursue anyone responsible for the trafficking of fentanyl. DEA’s top operational priority is to defeat the two Mexican drug cartels—the Sinaloa and Jalisco (CJNG) Cartels—that are primarily responsible for the fentanyl that is killing Americans today.”

Most of the fentanyl trafficked by the Sinaloa and CJNG Cartels is being mass-produced at secret factories in Mexico with chemicals sourced largely from China. In 2021, the DEA issued a Public Safety Alert on the widespread drug trafficking of fentanyl in the form of fentanyl-laced, fake prescription pills. These pills are made to look identical to real prescription medications—including OxyContin®, Percocet®, and Xanax®—but only contain filler and fentanyl, and are often deadly.

Fake pills are readily found on social media. No pharmaceutical pill bought on social media is safe. The only safe medications are ones prescribed directly to you by a trusted medical professional and dispensed by a licensed pharmacist.

In November 2022, DEA alerted the public to a sharp nationwide increase in the lethality of fentanyl-laced fake prescription pills.  DEA laboratory testing in 2022 revealed that six out of ten fentanyl-laced, fake prescription pills contained a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl. This is an increase from DEA’s announcement in 2021 that four out of ten fentanyl-laced, fake prescription pills contain a potentially deadly dose.

DEA’s El Paso Division also seized 3,484.97 pounds of methamphetamine, 91.16 pounds of heroin, and 1,863.12 pounds of cocaine.

DEA is now providing a regularly updated counter at http://www.dea.gov to track approximate amounts of fentanyl pills and fentanyl powder seized by DEA across the country.

DEA has also created a Faces of Fentanyl memorial to commemorate the lives lost from fentanyl poisoning. To submit a photo of a loved one lost to fentanyl, please send their name, age, and photograph to fentanylawareness@dea.gov, or post a photo and their name to social media using the hashtag #JustKNOW.