Seventeen people were arrested and nearly 500,000 counterfeit pills were seized during a federal crackdown of drug traffickers suspected of bringing phony pharmaceuticals laced with fentanyl and other illicit narcotics into California from Mexico, authorities said Tuesday.
The two-year investigation led to the indictment of 26 defendants, with nine suspects still being sought by the the Drug Enforcement Administration, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The DEA worked with other federal agencies as well as the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, officials said.
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The traffickers based in Sinaloa, Mexico, are accused of smuggling counterfeit pharmaceutical pills laced with fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine into the U.S., the statement said.
In addition to the pills, agents seized more than 50 kilograms of methamphetamine, 10 kilograms of cocaine and $230,000 in assets, according to officials.