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DEA suspect Mexican drug cartels behind deadly counterfeit Percocet pills in Georgia

June 13, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
DEA suspect Mexican drug cartels behind deadly counterfeit Percocet pills in Georgia

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Federal officials believe Mexican cartels could be tied to a lethal wave of counterfeit Percocet pills being smuggled through Georgia.

The Department of Public Health in Georgia has revealed that at least five individuals are suspected to have overdosed, and dozens more have been hospitalized after taking the pills.

Last week, the GBI’s crime lab said that preliminary analysis indicated that the fake pills that said “Percocet” on them are a combination of two synthetic opioids. One of the drugs is consistent with fentanyl.

The DEA said the pills are a problem on a national level and are investigating potential ties to Mexico, 11Alive.com reported

“There is an effort by cartels to press fentanyl into pills and sell them,” DEA Special Agent Dan Salder stated.

The DEA is working with local police in central Georgia to collect details about the overdoses in hopes of finding the source.

“I don’t think we know as of yet, but I would say anytime you’re seeing an explosion of a drug, it is coming from these cartels that impact us,” Salder added.

The fifth overdose in central Georgia that was possibly triggered by counterfeit Percocet pills occurred on Sunday.

Georgia Poison Control recently recognized the trend of overdoses that all have similar symptoms. Doctors indicated that the patients’ outcome depends on how quickly they get medical attention.

“These synthetic — who knows what — causes people to stop breathing, the longer that you’re without oxygen and care could mean a more severe outcome for the patient,” Dr. Stephanie Hon of Georgia Poison Control said.

Hon said that three suspected overdoses happened this past weekend — a number that was down from last week.

“Not as heavy as last week, I don’t know if things are quieting down or calming down, but three of the suspected cases meet our definition for the cluster,” she continued.

While the series of overdoses possibly caused by the artificial pills is in central Georgia, the DEA believes it could expand to Atlanta.

The DEA indicated that there is a large market for selling fentanyl-laced pills. A single kilo can sell for between $4,000 to $7,000, with a million one-milligram pills being made from the it.

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