NEW YORK CITY — Around 15,000 fentanyl pills were found in a Lego box and were seized in New York, officials say.
According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration, one person has been arrested after thousands of fentanyl pills were seized. The DEA said that this arrest and seizure were part of an ongoing investigation into a fentanyl trafficking organization.
According to the DEA, the fentanyl pills were believed to be distributed in New York City and were hidden in a Lego box and they were imprinted with an “M” and “30″ to resemble “30 M” which is oxycodone hydrochloride 30 mg pills. The pills were also various colors or rainbow-colored.
CBS News reported that this seizure is one of the biggest ones so far in New York City. The rainbow-colored fentanyl pills were first reported in February and have been seized in at least 21 states, DEA said last month, according to CBS News.
“Rainbow fentanyl is a clear and present danger, and it is here in New York City,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank Tarentino, in the news release. “Approximately forty percent of the pills we analyze in our lab contain a lethal dose; and in a recent 15-week enforcement operation, DEA New York seized half a million lethal pills. These staggering statistics underscore the importance of reminding the public that just one pill can kill; and this operation alone removed the equivalent of 500,000 lethal doses of fentanyl from circulation in the Empire State. In the same reporting period, DEA seized the equivalent of over 36 million lethal doses nationally.”
According to the news release from the DEA, Latesha Bush was arrested in connection with the seizure.
Bush, 48, was seen carrying a black tote bag wrapped around a large object when she entered a car, according to CBS News. The car was then stopped and law enforcement officials allegedly found two black tote bags, a yellow Lego box and multiple brick-shaped packages. According to CBS News, some of the packages were opened slightly and showed some of the rainbow-colored pills. The DEA said that this happened on September 28.
“I want to thank our members and law enforcement partners for their unwavering work in stopping the flow of illegal drugs throughout our state” said New York State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen, in the news release. “The arrest of Latesha Bush and the seizure of these lethal drugs are the direct result of a commitment to aggressively target and pursue criminals who perpetuate the distribution of these narcotics. Together, we will continue to eliminate these operations and those who seek to destroy the quality of life within our communities.”
Investigators learned that the pills Bush allegedly had were from Mexico, the DEA said.
“Disguising fentanyl as candy — and concealing it in children’s toys — will never hide the fact that fentanyl is a deadly poison that harms our communities, our families, and our city,” said Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell, in the news release. “The criminal complaint unsealed today is another example of the NYPD’s relentless commitment to never stop working to rid New York City of illegal drugs and I want to thank the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York, the DEA New York Division, the New York State Police, and everyone else involved in this case for their exceptional work.”
The Office of Special Narcotics Prosecutor has charged Bush with criminal possession of a controlled substance the first-degree and the third-degree, according to the DEA.
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