DEA skeptical about cartel’s request to cease fentanyl production

DEA officials are maintaining a skeptical stance regarding reports claiming that Mexican cartel leaders have issued orders to halt the production of fentanyl.

In early 2023, it was reported that the leaders of the Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels had issued orders to their subordinates to cease the production of fentanyl. Later in October 2023, Los Chapitos, the group led by the four sons of imprisoned boss Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, took action by displaying banners in prominent locations in Sinaloa, Sonora, and Baja California, calling for a ban on fentanyl.

DEA officials expressed their doubts in the latest National Drug Threat Assessment.

According to the report, the ban is likely just a publicity stunt or an effort by the cartels to streamline production with a select few trusted manufacturers and penalize the rest.

DEA officials have not observed any signs of a decrease in the availability of illegal fentanyl.

According to the report, there was no decrease in the supply of fentanyl at the border in 2023. In fact, throughout the year, fentanyl was seized in equal or higher quantities compared to previous years. None of the DEA field offices reported that fentanyl was less available or more expensive, indicating that the supply remained consistent.

According to a report by the DEA, illicit fentanyl claimed the lives of nearly 38,000 Americans in the first half of 2023. In 2022, synthetic opioids were responsible for 74,225 deaths, which accounted for 68% of the total 111,036 deaths that year, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

DEA officials have revealed that the cartels employ precursor chemicals sourced from China, in combination with pill presses, to manufacture fentanyl pills that bear an uncanny resemblance to legitimate prescription medication. Moreover, these cartels and street dealers often mix illicit fentanyl with other drugs like heroin and cocaine, thereby amplifying the dangers of overdose and potential fatality.

The report highlighted an alarming increase in the purity level of illicit fentanyl in the U.S. drug market. Moreover, it revealed that the amount of fentanyl found in counterfeit prescription pills has also risen. These developments have significantly amplified the danger posed by the nation’s leading drug threat.

According to the report, the seizure of fentanyl has reached unprecedented levels. Over the last two years, the seizure of fentanyl powder has increased by almost double. In 2023, the DEA seized a staggering 29,048 pounds of fentanyl. Furthermore, the number of fentanyl pills seized by the DEA in the same year was nearly triple the amount seized in 2021, totaling over 79 million pills.

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MBS Staff
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