(NewsNation) — Law enforcement officials in Florida have seized enough fentanyl to kill more than two million people.
Opioid deaths continue to rise across the country, and the CDC says there were 18 times more overdoses from synthetic opioids fentanyl in 2020 than there were seven years earlier, with more than 56,000 deaths. Fentanyl is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Doses as small as 2 milligrams can be lethal.
The Polk County sheriff’s office called it their “largest bust ever.” They seized more than 11 pounds of fentanyl, an amount Sheriff Grady Judd said could kill 2.7 million people. The bust happened after an undercover operation identified a drug trafficking group east of Tampa. Three people were arrested in connection with the operation.
Judd said the fentanyl came from Mexico, and some of it was found in a cereal box. Earlier this year, the Drug Enforcement Agency warned about brightly colored pills known as “rainbow fentanyl,” designed to look like candy and meant to appeal to young people.
Mexico, China, and India are the primary sources for fentanyl in the U.S. On the southern border, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol set a record high for fentanyl seizures in August. Since Oct. 2021, the agency has seized more than 100,000 pounds of the drug.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Rep. Tony Gonzales have introduced legislation that would make distribution of fentanyl resulting in death a felony murder charge, in response to the increase in overdoses.