The extremely powerful synthetic opioid has caused more than 71,000 deaths in America in 2021.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2023 1:00AM

12 federal cases filed as officials aim to take down fentanyl dealers

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Law enforcement officials announced 12 new federal cases targeting fentanyl dealers who, in all but one case, allegedly sold fentanyl and fake pills containing fentanyl that resulted in the death of at least one person.

The 12th case charges an alleged dealer who distributed fentanyl to teenage girls who suffered overdoses and required hospitalization, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The announcement was made at a press conference Tuesday afternoon led by federal and local law enforcement leaders who discussed their ongoing efforts to keep fentanyl off the streets.

“Fentanyl poisonings are now the number one cause of death for adults in this country 50 years or under,” said U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada.

The extremely powerful synthetic opioid has caused more than 71,000 deaths in America in 2021.

“If you are distributing this poison, our goal is to charge you with murder,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna.

Officials say the biggest source of fentanyl is in Mexico, where cartels import the ingredients from China, process it, then smuggle it across the U.S. border.

They say distributors are now using social media to sell the deadly drugs, putting it in front of countless children.

“It’s dealers using social media platforms, delivery service apps and payment apps that then take the drugs and handle the last mile delivery,” said Los Angeles DEA Special Agent in Charge Bill Bodner. “No matter where we live today, these power drugs are now available in our neighborhoods.”

Because the cases announced Tuesday involve deaths and are federal cases, prosecutors can charge a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison.

“We will bring you to justice and there will be severe consequences,” said Estrada.

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