15K 'rainbow' fentanyl pills seized in New York; some hidden in LEGO box

Rainbow fentanyl Halloween candy: DEA said it's important to sound alarm about pills before Oct. 31

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Wednesday, October 5, 2022
DEA seized 'rainbow' fentanyl found in LEGO box
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The DEA announced an increase of colored fentanyl coming to New York and unveiled a disturbing new trafficking tactic being used. Kemberly Richardson has the story.

NEW YORK -- Fentanyl packaged like candy and placed into LEGO boxes has become what federal drug agents on Tuesday called "every parent's worst nightmare."

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and law enforcement partners announced the first significant seizure of so-called rainbow fentanyl. It happened last Wednesday, when agents and officers stopped a vehicle on the Manhattan side of the Lincoln Tunnel that contained 15,000 multicolored pills.

The pills were imprinted with "30 M" to resemble 30mg oxycodone hydrochloride pills, usually prescribed to treat severe pain after an operation or a serious injury.

"The pills look like candy," said New York City's special narcotics prosecutor Bridgette Brennan. "We believe it is critically important to educate the public about this new form fentanyl is taking."

Rainbow fentanyl began showing up on the streets on the West Coast in February and has gradually made its way across the country.

RELATED: More than 440K fentanyl pills seized by Chicago DEA agents in 4 months

The multicolored pills are similar looking to party drugs and are meant to be more appealing so Mexican cartels responsible for trafficking them can cultivate a new market among younger people, according to the DEA's Frank Tarrentino, who called it "newly packaged poison."

"Fentanyl is everywhere and it is on everything," Tarrentino said, noting some of the pills seized in the car were discovered in a yellow LEGO box.

The DEA said it seized 36 million lethal doses nationally after launching a 15-week enforcement and education campaign titled, "One Pill Can Kill."

About 500,000 of those lethal doses were found in New York state.

The 15,000 pills seized in New York City have an estimated street value of $300,000. Letitia Bush of Trenton, New Jersey was arrested on charges of criminal possession in the first and third degrees.

This was the largest seizure of fentanyl pills in New York City.

The DEA said it was important to sound the alarm about rainbow fentanyl before Halloween since the pills can look like any common candy.