DEA agents raid homes in Tri-Cities area, targeting fentanyl
TRI-CITIES, Wash. – Agents are continuing their investigation, after raiding at least two houses in the Tri-Cities Wednesday morning.
Special agents on the case tell Action News they’re seeing a rise of deadly drugs on our streets.
DEA agents busted a home on a private road off E 25th Ave in Finley Wednesday morning, and shortly after agents raided another home in the 1900 block of Ruby Street in Pasco.
Officials with the Drug Enforcement Administration said they're concerned about the increase in the distribution of fentanyl products or what they call Mexi blues in Eastern Washington in the last six months, and specifically in this instance in the Tri-Cities area.
"We'll see they end up making fentanyl into fake heroin or fake Oxy30, we call them OxyContin,” Assistant Special Agent Tracy Simmons said.
Simmons said they haven’t found any dealers producing fentanyl products Eastern Washington yet, but they are seeing it become a place for major distribution.
Simmons said the pills on the streets are unregulated and unpredictable.
"When dealers make the pills we end up seeing that you'll get one pill that has nothing in it and then you'll get another pill that has 3 or 4 times the overdose levels," he explained.
Simmons said it scares him to see chronic pain patients turn to the streets to get pills because physicians are now lowering dosages to reduce the opioid epidemic.
"We do see a trend of patients who are in chronic pain turn to the street for their OxyContin or their pills,” he said. “Those folks I'm really worried about because they just don't know what they're getting when they're getting it on the street."
He said fentanyl is 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin.
"They could get a hot pill and it could end their life in one shot," Simmons said.
Agent Simmons stressed that fentanyl products are on the DEA's radar because they’re so lethal.
"It's a priority for us to try to get these things off the street, get the folks that are distributing them off the street, so it reduces the danger to the public," he said.
The two raids in the Tri-cities are ongoing federal investigations, and agents cannot comment on the number or location of houses they’ve hit until they're complete.