Agents also seized 1.8 million counterfeit pills manufactured in Mexico and sold online
Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco criticized tech companies such as Facebook Inc and Snap, saying, “The prevalence, low cost of synthetic opioids and the way criminal drug networks disguise them as legitimate prescription pills have actually made them public safety.” can make it dangerous.” Inc., which operates Snapchat.
“If we know that drug dealing is happening on their site every day, they know that too,” said Drug Enforcement Administration administrator Anne Milgram.
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A Snap spokesperson defended its efforts to keep the sale of illegal drugs off its platform. “We at Snapchat are committed to doing everything we can to fight this,” said Rachel Rakusen. “We strictly prohibit drug-related activity on our platform, aggressively enforce measures against these violations, and support law enforcement in their investigations.”
Officials said the counterfeit tablets are being mass-produced by Mexican cartels using chemicals from China and then sold on social media and e-commerce sites. In addition to the bullets, officials confiscated enough powdered fentanyl to make 158 weapons, meth and cocaine, along with millions of deadly bullets during an attempt that began on August 3. The seizures add up to about 9.6 million counterfeit pills. The DEA has seized so far this year, which is more than in the past two years combined. The number of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl has increased by nearly 430% since 2019.
The US experienced a record number of drug-overdose deaths last year — more than 93,000 — a nearly 30% increase from 2019. This increase, 2020 data shows, was largely driven by the spread of fentanyl.
The arrests come as relations between the US and Mexico remain strained following the October 2020 arrest of former Mexican Defense Secretary General Salvador Cienfuegos on charges of drug trafficking and corruption, which the Justice Department later called for foreign policy concerns. kicked out. Mexican lawmakers passed a law in December to curb the role of DEA agents in that country, a move US officials said hurt bilateral efforts to fight the drug cartel.
Attorney General Merrick Garland and Ms Milgram met with Mexico’s Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero on Wednesday in what Ms Milgram described as a candid conversation.
“We had a good conversation about the ways in which our countries can cooperate and work together to stop the flow of drugs,” he said, adding that he has made Mexico fight crime, respect extradition requests. and to work with America to provide access to America. Illegal financial information and other evidence for investigation. “And I am optimistic and I hope that we will be able to forge that path going forward,” she said.
Sadie Gurman [email protected] . Feather