Phoenix Police Make Largest Single Seizure of Fentanyl Pills in Department History

The Phoenix Police Department (PHXPD) shared Friday that officials made the largest single seizure of fentanyl pills in the department’s history this week.

“Phoenix police detectives with the Drug Enforcement Bureau have made the single largest fentanyl bust in Phoenix police history. Two men have been arrested in connection to the seizure which netted more than one million fentanyl pills,” according to a media advisory shared with The Arizona Sun Times.

The total sum of fentanyl confiscated amounted to approximately 950,000 pills on top of a firearm which police also confiscated. The incident occurred on Wednesday at Avondale Boulevard and Durango Street. Detectives were following leads involving the possession of narcotic drugs for sale and obtained a search warrant for the area after finding enough information. A Special Assignment Unit executed a search of the suspect’s house and car, finding the historic stash.

Suspects 26-year-old Francisco Delgado and 21-year-old Jose Molina were arrested at the scene and booked into the Maricopa County Jail under felony charges. The department did not offer any more information at this time.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) congratulated the PHXPD for its work, saying there is more work to be done to stop the flow of drugs.

“Enormous seizures like these are becoming more common – Arizona will continue to work to stop the flow of dangerous drugs across the border while the federal government stands idle,” Ducey tweeted.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) shared that two milligrams of fentanyl can be fatal and that a kilogram of the opioid is enough to kill roughly 500,000 people. The average fentanyl pill weighs one-tenth of a gram, and 42 percent of pills tested by the DEA contain over the lethal limit. This means the PHXPD’s historic bust hypothetically confiscated enough pills to kill 399,000 people.

Arizona State Representative Joanne Osborne (R-Goodyear) stated that the drugs could have caused mass destruction.

However, this was not the only fentanyl bust made in the state on Wednesday. Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) troopers announced a 52-pound bust on the same day. Troopers initiated a traffic stop on 28-year-old Andres Ramirez-Sanchez near Sahuarita. A vehicle search revealed fentanyl pills stashed in a secret compartment, which allegedly came from Nogales, Mexico, and was en route to Tucson. The suspect was arrested and booked into the Pima County Jail on charges of possession, transportation, and sale of narcotics.

Moreover, at the Port of Nogales, Director Michael Humphries shared two separate fentanyl busts that occurred this week. On Sunday, officers discovered 36,800 fentanyl pills with the help of K9 units and scanning technology. Then, on Thursday, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents seized an additional 72,000 fentanyl pills along with 2.45 pounds of fentanyl powder, 2.9 pounds of cocaine, and 44.75 pounds of methamphetamine, all concealed within a vehicle’s gas tank.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS), as of Thursday, 2,128 non-fatal overdoses have occurred in Arizona since 2022 began. These overdoses primarily occur between the age of 25 and 34 and are especially high among white people. A total of 372 opioid-related deaths have occurred in 2022, although this number has not been updated since May due to data quality issues.

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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Fentanyl” by Phoenix Police.

 

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