San Diego Police, Customs and DEA Agents Seize 50,000 Fentanyl-Laced Pills in Bust

The bust is another headline in a week full of news involving the deadly synthetic drug in San Diego

Approximately 50,000 pills containing fentanyl were seized in San Diego on June 28, 2022 by the Drug Enforcement Administration, San Diego Police Department and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

San Diego narcotics officers swiped 50,000 fake pills containing fentanyl in a single seizure on Tuesday, the same day the San Diego County Board of Supervisors declared a public health emergency over the lethal drug.

Berenice Sanchez-Tapia, age 47, is on the hook for the pills, facing state narcotics charges, according to a DEA press release announcing the bust. The DEA, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the San Diego Police Department worked together on the operation.

San Diego County leaders have declared a Fentanyl public health crisis as number of overdose deaths continues to rise. And, local clinics are preparing for an increase for patients seeking abortion. Plus, juvenile white sharks just “chill” at SoCal beaches. Here’s What’s Up in San Diego County for June 29, 2022.

“This seizure is another great example of how SDPD’s partnerships with federal task forces keep our neighborhoods safe,” a quote from SDPD Chief David Nisleit included in the DEA release read. “Getting these 50,000 pills off the streets has undoubtedly prevented serious harm to our community."

Sanchez-Tapia was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday.

The bust is another headline in a week full of news involving the deadly synthetic drug in San Diego. On Wednesday, a man pleaded guilty to supplying the fentanyl-laced pills that killed the daughter of San Diego magnate Doug "Papa Doug" Manchester, and on Tuesday the county declared a public health emergency it says will help secure resources to keep the drug off the streets.

  • The DEA says it saw nearly a 313% increase in fentanyl seizures in San Diego County from 2019 to 2021.
  • 2,715 kilograms of fentanyl were seized in San Diego County in 2021, compared to 658 kilograms in 2019. These seizure numbers include fake pills and powders containing fentanyl and are projected to increase for 2022, according to the DEA.
  • During the same time period, the DEA says overdose deaths rose by 441% from 151 deaths in 2019 to 817 deaths in 2021.
  • DEA laboratory testing reveals that 4 of 10 fake pills contain a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl, the agency said.
  • The CDC claims fentanyl was the number one killer of people 18 to 45 years old in the U.S. last year – that’s more deaths attributed to fentanyl than COVID, heart disease, gun violence and car accidents.
  • Over 66% of powder fentanyl seized along the southwest border last year was picked up in San Diego, according to the county.
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