NEW YORK (PIX11) — Four suspects are expected to be arraigned in Federal Court Friday for allegedly operating a clandestine fentanyl pill mill from inside a two-family home in the Bronx.
“I thought that was suspicious also because there was a lot of packages being delivered,” said one neighbor.
DEA Special Agent in charge Frank Tarentino says fentanyl is the country’s biggest threat.
He adds these local operations are becoming harder to find, and are part of a sprawling, global network of illicit fentanyl production.
“China is the country that is responsible for making these precursor chemicals that are flowing into Mexico. And once they get into Mexico, they are moved into these clandestine laboratories, and they are mass-produced and synthesized into this fentanyl powder that is pressed into the pills,” said Tarentino.
This bust in the Belmont section of the Bronx, according to Tarentino, it is one of the largest fentanyl busts on record.
It includes 24.5 kilos of raw fentanyl bricks/powder, 220 thousand pills, designed to resemble authentic “Oxy M30” pills, and four large, industrial pill presses capable of making 5,000 pills per hour.
Those pills are hard to detect on the street.
“They are pressing these pills to look exactly like an oxy-30. exactly like a Vicodin. exactly like Xanax or Adderall,” said Tarentino.
Bronx D.A. Darcel Clark’s prosecutors have their hands full; a wave of fentanyl busts set off by the tragic poisoning of four babies, one of them fatal in a daycare being used as a fentanyl operation.
“The Bronx is a hub for this, unfortunately. The highways, where we are set up, geographically it is a perfect location for distribution. Drug distribution and drug crimes are one thing, it is about money. But it is something else when it is about human lives. And unfortunately, little Nicholas dying in that daycare center has put a face on this problem again, that we already knew was here.”
Bronx District Attorney Clark says she is working on plans for a new PSA to raise awareness of the illicit fentanyl operations doing business on our block and has every intention of investigating Bronx-based day care operations, in particular, to hopefully root out the bad actors.