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Amid pandemic, NY seizures of fentanyl and meth surge

January 26, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Federal authorities say the amount of fentanyl seized in drug-trafficking investigations in the state of New York continues to increase at an alarming rate, underscoring how the pandemic hasn’t slowed a booming market for the potent synthetic opioid.

Seizures of methamphetamine — another highly addictive synthetic street drug blamed in a national surge in overdose deaths — also are on a steep rise, according to Drug Enforcement Administration numbers released Tuesday.

There were 404 kilograms (890 pounds) of fentanyl seized in the state in fiscal year 2020, a 59% increase, the DEA said. The total for meth was up 214%, to 767 kilograms (1,690 pounds), the agency added.

The increases reflect an effort by Mexican drug cartels to expand their supply chains for fentanyl and meth — manufactured in so-called “super labs” south of the border — into the U.S. Northeast despite the coronavirus health crisis, said Ray Donovan, head of the DEA’s New York office.

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DEA agents have seen fentanyl mixed with heroin, cocaine, meth and even marijuana, Donovan said. It’s estimated that more than 60% of all drug overdose deaths in New York City involve fentanyl, he added.

“When drug traffickers introduced fentanyl to the illicit drug market, they created a monster,” Donovan said.

In raids in New York City in May, agents recovered 120,000 glassine envelopes of suspected heroin mixed with fentanyl that was worth over $1 million. The DEA said dealers stamped some of the envelopes with a twisted brand: “Coronavirus.”

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