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16 arrested in Oklahoma in connection with cartel

  • According to news reports, the arrests were related to drug trafficking
  • Lawmakers have called for more action in the fight against cartels
  • Fentanyl has led to a rapid increase in overdose deaths in the U.S.

The Drug Enforcement Administration displays bundles of seized fentanyl pills.

(NewsNation) — Sixteen people were arrested in connection with organized drug trafficking in Oklahoma, according to local news station Fox23.

The station reported the arrests, which were reportedly made in connection with a cartel operating out of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Cartels are known for working with street gangs in the U.S. to distribute illegal drugs as well as having increasingly used social media to recruit Americans for their operations.

Lawmakers have called for more to be done in the fight against cartels. Suggestions on how to combat the organizations have included legislation to limit the ability of cartels to use social media as a recruitment tool, calls to designate cartels as terrorist groups and even calls to send the U.S. military to aid in the fight against cartels.

Investigators with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs were working on the case for several months prior to the arrests, using social media messages, GPS tracking and surveillance to tie those arrested to trafficking fentanyl.

Fentanyl is implicated in an increasing number of overdose deaths in the U.S., in part because the synthetic opioid is so strong that it’s easy to accidentally take too much. Fentanyl has also been found mixed with other drugs, leaving users unaware of what substances they are actually ingesting.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, synthetic opioids like fentanyl were responsible for nearly 71,000 overdose deaths in 2021 and the same substances account for more than 150 overdose deaths every day.

NewsNation has reached out to the OBN for confirmation of the arrests. We will update the story when we receive a response.


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