New York Daily News: By Molly Crane-Newman – It looks like candy and was in a box of toys, but it’s nothing to play with.
Thousands of multi-colored opioid pills were smuggled into New York in a Lego box, in what authorities are calling the largest fentanyl bust in the city’s history.
“This newly packaged poison is deliberate, it is calculated, it is treacherous deception to make Rainbow fentanyl look like candy. This is every parent’s worst nightmare,” said the Drug Enforcement Administration’s local Special Agent in Charge, Frank Tarentino.
The heavy-duty painkillers — that have been tied to a Mexican drug cartel — were found inside a rental car at Hudson Yards in Manhattan on Sept. 30, the feds said.
New Jersey woman Latesha Bush allegedly ferried the drugs to the city and was busted in the car on W. 25th St near Tenth Ave.
Agents found Bush in the back seat with two black tote bags and a yellow Lego box. Inside the toy container were Lego bricks and packages held together with black tape, authorities said. The multi-colored pills were in the taped up parcels, the feds said.
Bush, of Trenton, was charged with drug possession, authorities said.
The drug discovery is especially troubling for Special Agent Tarentino.
“Approximately 40 percent of the pills we analyze in our lab contain a lethal dose; and in a recent 15-week enforcement operation, DEA New York seized half a million lethal pills,” Tarentino explained.
Authorities believe drug makers are using rainbow colors and dyes as both as a branding strategy and to increase the likelihood the pills will go undetected or be mistaken for prescription drugs or candy.
New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said she hopes the seizure would save people from heading down “a sad path of substance use and overdose death.”
“Using happy colors to make a deadly drug seem fun and harmless is a new low, even for the Mexican cartels,” Brennan said.
“Fentanyl is already involved in more than 80% of overdose deaths in the city. If you take any drug sold on the street or through the internet, regardless of its medicinal markings or festive appearance, you risk your life.”
Top Feature Photo: Fentanyl pills seized in New York by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Office of Special Narcotics – Courtesy Prosecutors