BOSTON - In an effort to address the heroin, fentanyl and meth abuse epidemic, the DEA's New England Field Division recently conducted a two-week surge operation.
During the operation, law enforcement made 645 arrests and seized 17.9 kilograms of fentanyl, 7,800 illicit fentanyl pills, 13.9 kilograms of cocaine, 3.1 kilograms of heroin, 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine, 38.1 kilograms of marijuana, 51 firearms and $1.2 million in cash, announced Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Boyle.
"DEA's top priority is to aggressively pursue anyone who distributes these deadly drugs," said SAC Boyle. "Those arrested need to be held accountable for their actions because they have chosen to distribute this poison and profit from the misery they spread."
"Illegal drug distribution ravages the very foundations of our families and communities," said SAC Boyle. "Every time we take fentanyl off the streets we save lives. These enforcement actions demonstrate the strength of collaborative local, state and federal law enforcement efforts in New England.
This year alone, about 77,000 Americans will die of an overdose, Associate Special Agent in Charge John DeLena said.
Fentanyl is a key enforcement target because it is up to 100 times stronger than heroin and, as a result, can be deadly even in small quantities, Boyle and DeLena said.
An especially heinous new twist to the scourge is that dealers are pushing methamphetamine, an "upper," and "great way to bounce back from fentanyl," a "downer," DeLena said.
Other dealers believe the stronger "high" will draw in more users.
Mexican cartels are behind much of the tinkering seeking to ensnare more Americans in their drug dependencies, officials said.