A police drug bust in Phoenix netted more than 1 million fentanyl pills in what city police called the most significant fentanyl seizure in department history.
On Sept. 21, Phoenix police detectives with the Special Assignments Unit executed a warrant to search a home in Avondale, Arizona, during which they found a large stash of drugs.
Two men, Francisco Delgado, 26, and Jose Molina, 21, were arrested during the investigation and booked at the Maricopa County Jail on multiple drug-related charges.
“Detectives followed leads involving the possession of narcotic drugs for sale,” the Phoenix Police Department said in a statement.
Using “advanced investigative techniques,” the detectives developed sufficient information to obtain a search warrant for a home on Avondale Boulevard and Durango Street.
Police also seized a vehicle belonging to one of the suspects during the search.
Both men were expected to be arraigned in Maricopa County Superior Court.
On Aug. 10, in another major fentanyl bust in Phoenix, police arrested Braulio de Diego, 30, of Mesa, Arizona, who was charged with trafficking approximately 150,000 fentanyl pills weighing nearly 36 pounds. The estimated street value of the seizure was more than $525,000.
On May 2, Phoenix police seized 170,000 suspected fentanyl pills, guns, and other drugs while searching a vehicle in Chandler, Arizona, and arrested Marco Antonio Medina, 29, of Phoenix on drug-related charges.
He faces three counts of possessing controlled substances for distribution and one count of possessing a firearm by a felon.
Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is considered 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin and is lethal at just two milligrams.
According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, nearly 400 people have died of an opioid-related overdose in Arizona thus far in 2022.
Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 107,375 people had died of a drug overdose and poisonings in the 12 months ending in January. Nearly 70 percent of those deaths involved fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.
During the first three quarters of fiscal year 2022, Southern California Customs and Border Patrol agents seized more than 5,000 pounds of fentanyl, about 60 percent of the 8,425 pounds of fentanyl seized throughout the United States.
On Sept. 21, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed an executive order designating Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations.
“Fentanyl is a clandestine killer. And Texans are victimized by Mexican cartels that produce and import it. So cartels are terrorists,” Abbott said during a press conference in Midland, Texas.
In response to Arizona’s opioid crisis, Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s office announced this month $6 million in grant funding to 11 organizations in Arizona to combat the problem.
The grant funds stem from a Feb. 21 settlement with McKinsey & Co., following an investigation into the company’s alleged role in helping fuel the opioid crisis, Brnovich said in a statement.