Law enforcement recovered 417,000 fentanyl pills in Minnesota last year, a 127% increase over the year prior.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) released the startling statistic in a press release Wednesday, saying Minnesota saw the largest increase in pill seizures in the DEA’s five-state Omaha Division, which includes Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.
“Fentanyl is the deadliest drug threat our country has ever faced,” DEA Omaha Division Special Agent in Charge Steven T. Bell said. “The DEA Omaha Division covers a vast expanse of land containing urban, suburban and rural communities. Sadly, none of these communities are exempt from the tragic consequences that can come from experimenting with or using fentanyl. This drug is potentially lethal in such a small amount that it can fit on the tip of a pencil. We’re seeing it in both pill and powder form all across our Division.”
Across the division, officials observed an 83% increase in fentanyl pill seizures, which was also reflected in both Iowa and North Dakota. Nebraska and South Dakota saw declines. Nationally, the DEA said it seized more than 77 million fentanyl pills and nearly 12,000 pounds of fentanyl, amounting to more than 386 million deadly doses, which is enough to kill every American. In the Omaha division, 2.9 million lethal doses were seized.
According to the DEA, fentanyl is the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 18 and 45, with just two milligrams of the drug posing a potentially deadly threat.
The DEA also reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is predicting a record number of fatal drug poisonings for 2023, 70% of which were caused by fentanyl. DEA laboratory testing in 2023 found that seven out of 10 pills tested contained a potentially deadly dose of fentanyl. That’s an increase from four out of 10 pills in 2021 and six out of 10 pills in 2022.
Just this month, the Department of Justice announced charges against six individuals who were involved in a drug trafficking conspiracy in Minnesota that netted over 30,000 grams of seized fentanyl pills.
“This unprecedented surge in fentanyl seizures is a clear indicator of the escalating drug crisis in our state and the nation,” Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman David Hann said in response to the DEA’s release.
“This crisis is exacerbated by the open-border policies of the Biden Administration, which have failed to adequately secure our borders and prevent the influx of illegal drugs into our communities. Unfortunately, our Democrat representatives — including Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Congresswoman Angie Craig — have done nothing to hold the Biden Administration accountable or curb this deadly epidemic plaguing their state.”
On Capitol Hill, the Biden administration is facing increased pressure from House Republicans over its handling of the border crisis as the GOP explores an impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
“I understand that the mission of the Department of Homeland Security is to secure our nation’s air, land, and sea borders to prevent illegal activity while facilitating lawful travel and trade,” Josephine Dunn, an Arizona woman who lost her daughter to fentanyl poisoning in 2021, told a U.S. House committee Thursday.
“In my humble opinion, Mr. Mayorkas’ border policy is partially responsible for my daughter’s death. His wide-open border policy allows massive quantities of poisonous fentanyl into our country.”