208 pounds of fentanyl pills seized in Kentucky last year

Published 3:29 pm Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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Gov. Andy Beshear says the continued work of Kentucky’s Counterdrug Program has helped save Kentuckians’ lives by seizing 265,170 fentanyl pills and 208.3 pounds of fentanyl during the 2023 federal fiscal year, which ran Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, 2023.

The governor said the number of fentanyl pills seized rose by more than 5,000%, plus over 100 pounds more of fentanyl compared with the 2022 fiscal year. So far in the 2024 fiscal year, they have seized more than 86,150 fentanyl pills and approximately 93 pounds of fentanyl and aided in 64 arrests.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), fentanyl is being mixed with other illicit drugs to increase the potency of the drug, which is sold as powders and nasal sprays and is increasingly pressed into pills that are made to look like legitimate prescription opioids. Officials estimate 1 kilogram of fentanyl (approximately 2.2 pounds) has the potential to kill 500,000 people.

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“I am so proud of the work of our counterdrug team, which includes multiple state, local and federal agencies, including Kentucky State Police, Kentucky National Guard, Appalachian High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, Homeland Security Investigations and Drug Enforcement Administration,” Gov. Beshear said. “They are stopping the flow of illicit drugs into our communities and their work is saving lives.”

The group also supported the seizure of 822 pounds of methamphetamine and more than 310 pounds of cocaine, enabled 164 arrests and facilitated surrender of more than $2.3 million in cash tied to illegal drug activity in 2023.

Kentucky State Police Commissioner Phillip Burnett Jr., notes that according to the CDC, synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, are the primary driver of overdose deaths in the United States. 

“Not only is fentanyl a danger to Kentuckians, but it is a threat to our law enforcement officers, their K9 counterparts as well as other first responders. KSP relies heavily on drug task forces, local law enforcement and federal agencies for intel sharing and pooling resources to stop these criminal organizations from causing destruction in our communities,” Burnett stated. “Here in Kentucky, we have a strong message for drug traffickers – this is not a place for you to do business.”