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Over 1M fentanyl pills have been seized in Arizona this year

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PHOENIX – Federal authorities in Phoenix said more than 1 million fentanyl pills have been confiscated in the state this year, more than three times the haul in 2018.

The Drug Enforcement Administration said Mexican cartels have been producing most of the pills, made to resemble oxycodone M-30 tablets.

“The proliferation of these pills trafficked into the U.S. by Mexican cartels and the sheer number of fentanyl pills seized in Arizona is alarming,” Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman said in a Thursday press release.

Most of the 1.1 million seized so far in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 have been “Mexican oxy,” Coleman said.

He said the department and law enforcement agencies in Arizona seized about 380,000 pills in fiscal year 2018.

Four years ago there were no pills confiscated.

The DEA noted the new fentanyl product as a trend in 2016, when 20,000 pills were seized.

Fentanyl previously was used mostly as a powder added to heroin.

The agency cited the Arizona Department of Health Services’ figure of 344 Arizonans who have died from taking fentanyl since January.

At that pace, Arizona will exceed last year’s 553 fentanyl-related deaths.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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