CHICAGO (WLS) -- New data obtained by the ABC 7 I-Team reveals that Chicago DEA agents seized more than 441,000 fentanyl pills in four months this summer.
From May 23 to September 8, 2022, DEA agents in the Chicago Field Division recovered 16 firearms, made 16 arrests, seized 441,464 fentanyl pills, 7,185 grams of Fentanyl powder and 42,611 grams of meth.
Agents made those seizures in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin as part of a national DEA effort called "One Pill Can Kill" that seized more than 10.2 million fentanyl pills across the country.
Fentanyl overdoses killed more than 71,000 people in 2021, a growing number of overdose deaths now attributed to fentanyl nationwide.
"Our DEA labs have, through their analysis have shown that about four in 10 of the counterfeit pills that we see is contained potentially deadly doses of fentanyl so 40% chance that a pill you get on the street or online has a deadly dose," said Robert Bell, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA in Chicago.
Those odds of dying have prompted the DEA here and across the nation to target illicit fentanyl the past year. Federal investigators say the millions of lethal doses were intercepted en route from Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel and the New Generation Cartel operated by El Mencho, Chicago's public enemy number one.
"From May through September of this year, DEA agents conducted 389 investigations, including 35 cartel-linked investigations in 201 cities," said U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. "Over the course of these investigations, we seized over 10 million fake pills and 982 pounds of fentanyl powder powder across all 50 states. That is enough to kill 36 million Americans."
One year into the counter-fentanyl push by DEA, authorities have seized cartel drugs, hundreds of weapons and even hand grenades.
FULL STATEMENT FROM DEA CHICAGO FIELD DIVISION SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE ROBERT J. BELL:
"Far too many lives have been lost across Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin from drug overdoses and poisonings involving fake pills laced with fentanyl," said Special Agent in Charge Robert Bell, DEA Chicago Division. "DEA continues to work alongside its law enforcement partners to bring drug cartels and traffickers to justice. At the same time, we are continuing to alert the public about the dangers of fake pills through campaigns like One Pill Can Kill."