MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — Candy-colored “rainbow fentanyl” has made its way to West Virginia, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia and Mon Metro Drug & Violent Crimes Task Force announced during a press conference Wednesday.
The pills were seized last week by task force members, who said they were multi-colored and stamped with M/30 like a conventional oxycodone pill.
United States Attorney William Ihlenfeld noted that the counterfeits were superior to pills seized in the past and are believed to have come from Mexico, into California and then into Morgantown. Ihlenfeld said that as a college town, it is being targeted by cartels.
Officers also seized crystal methamphetamine, cocaine, and powdered fentanyl during the incident. Ihlenfeld said charges will be announced in the future.
Last week, 15,000 of the deadly candy-colored pills were also found in Nogales, Arizona, on someone who was attempting to smuggle them over the border, Ihlenfeld said.
Fentanyl is currently the number one cause of death among those ages 18 to 45, Ihlenfeld said at a press conference Wednesday. Of the approximately 107,000 overdose deaths that there were last year, 70,000 were caused by fentanyl, Ihlenfeld said.
Ihlenfeld said there are two specific cartels that are responsible for most of the fentanyl in the U.S., and those cartels get the precursor ingredients to make the synthetic opioid from China, and finish the product in Mexico, where the pills are often stamped to look like a different type of drug.
Ihlenfeld said that based on what law enforcement has seen, he would advise that you assume that any pill you obtain from any non-official source could be fentanyl.
According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, just 2 mg of fentanyl is considered a potentially lethal dose.