DEA Seizes Deadly Form of Fentanyl Found in Counterfeit Pills in North Texas

26,000 fentanyl pill, 48 kilograms of fentanyl-heroin & 1 kilogram of cocaine
Narcotics seizure by DEA. | Image from DEA

A deadly form of fentanyl has been found in counterfeit pills seized in North Texas, says DEA Officials. Para-fluorofentanyl is a new drug that carries much likeness to regular fentanyl.

The Star-Telegram reported that Nicco Cole, a twenty-year-old and former Southlake Carroll High School baseball star, died June 25 with para-fluorofentanyl in his system. According to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office, his death was ruled an accident. The ruling was released just last week after five months of testing for a toxicology report.

“Para-fluorofentanyl has been found in submissions of counterfeit pills in North Texas,” said Cynthia Velazquez, a DEA specialist in the Dallas Field Division.

Velazquez said para-fluorofentanyl is a controlled substance that has no accepted for medical use in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse.

In Pennsylvania, Dr. Karl Williams, the Allegheny County Chief Medical Examiner, found para-fluorofentanyl in the bodies of seventy-five people who have overdosed in 2021. That number was at zero just a year ago, according to KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh.

Para-fluorofentanyl is a synthetic opioid produced in laboratories, either in powder or tablet form, directly mimicking legal opioid products. According to the DEA, the drug can often be mixed with other illegal drugs such as heroin.

An estimated 9.5 million counterfeit pills were seized this year, more than the last two years combined. These same fake pills have been identified in all fifty states, including the District of Columbia.

According to information from the DEA, criminal drug networks are mass-producing the pills and falsely marketing them as the legal prescription form.

Counterfeit pills often contain fentanyl or methamphetamine, both of which can be very deadly. In the case of Nicco Cole, the Colleyville police are investigating the case currently, but no arrests have been made.

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