Border agents discovered a new form of rainbow fentanyl that smugglers attempted to bring into the U.S., Nogales Port Director Michael W. Humphries said in a tweet Tuesday.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on Sunday seized around 413,000 fentanyl pills, 44,000 of which “had the rainbow colors combined in each pill.” Humphries said the new version of the pills was “not encountered before” as the area continues to see seizures of the new type of candy-colored drug.
Nogales is an area of Arizona that is across from Sinaloa drug cartel territory in Mexico. Sunday’s seizure also included 7.4 pounds of fentanyl powder and 14.4 pounds of heroin, Humphries said.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently warned that drug cartels are using rainbow fentanyl to market to younger customers, according to a statement the agency shared with the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Rainbow fentanyl—fentanyl pills and powder that come in a variety of bright colors, shapes, and sizes—is a deliberate effort by drug traffickers to drive addiction amongst kids and young adults,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in the statement.
For months, the port in Nogales has seen several smuggling attempts of rainbow fentanyl. Authorities in several states, including Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and West Virginia have also encountered rainbow fentanyl.
In September, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody renewed her call for the Biden administration to declare fentanyl a “weapon of mass destruction.”
Moody made her remarks following a “security briefing” that included Florida law enforcement officers and anti-fentanyl activists.
“Other substances that have previously been considered weapons of mass destruction, chemical or biological agents, are in scarce supply because we have targeted them,” said Moody. “We have gone after them, not just with traditional narcotics agencies. We have enlisted the Department of Defense … to counter weapons of mass destruction. And that must happen now, as it relates to fentanyl.”
Moody added that the amount of fentanyl loose on America’s streets now could produce an event causing “mass casualties.”
“The time has come for us to take this drug seriously,” she added. “We cannot treat this as any traditional narcotic has been treated in the past.”
Moody also noted, “I first called for President Biden to take swift action in July and call fentanyl what it is—a weapon of mass destruction. Now, I am leading a bipartisan coalition of 18 attorneys general demanding the president take action now, declare fentanyl a WMD and join us in our fight to prevent the death and destruction caused by this highly-lethal substance from getting even worse.”
In a press release on Wednesday, Moody’s office noted that more than 75,000 Americans died from a fentanyl-related overdose fo the 12-month period ending in February 2022.
“The amount of fentanyl seized since February of last year could kill every man, woman and child in the country more than 11 times over—raising concerns over the potential that the synthetic opioid is being stockpiled in the U.S.” her office noted.