The Justice Department announced that between May 23 and Sept. 8, the DEA and its law enforcement partners had seized more than 10.2 million fentanyl-laced pills thus far this year.
The Justice Department said those responsible for trafficking it into the U.S. are the Mexican cartels, particularly the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).
“Across the country, fentanyl is devastating families and communities, and we know that violent, criminal drug cartels bear responsibility for this crisis,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland in a news release. “The Justice Department, including the extraordinary professionals of the DEA, is working to disrupt and dismantle the operations of these cartels, remove deadly fentanyl from our communities, and save Americans’ lives.”
Garland added that DEA agents conducted 390 investigations in 201 cities and found 51 of those were linked to overdose poisonings and 35 were linked to one or both of the cartels.
"The amount of fentanyl taken off the streets during this surge is equivalent to more than 36 million lethal doses removed from the illegal drug supply," Garland said.
Garland said 338 weapons, including rifles, shotguns, pistols, and hand grenades, were also seized.
The DOJ said fentanyl is a deadly threat to Americans because it is 50 times more potent than heroin.
Last year, 107,622 people in the U.S. died from a fentanyl-related death, the DOJ said.