MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA – A search warrant executed last week in Morgantown led to the recovery of a large batch of “Rainbow Fentanyl,” a colorful version of the deadly drug that resembles candy.
United States Attorney William Ihlenfeld was joined by officials from the Mon Metro Drug & Violent Crimes Task Force today to discuss the case and to notify the community about how fentanyl is being marketed in the region. The pills, seized last week by Task Force officers, are multi-colored and stamped with M/30 like a conventional oxycodone pill. Ihlenfeld noted that the production quality of the counterfeits was superior to pills seized in the past, and that they are suspected to have originated Mexico and shipped to Morgantown from California.
“Adolescent drug overdose deaths have doubled over the past decade due to the emergence of illicit fentanyl and the manner in which it is being marketed,” said U.S. Attorney Ihlenfeld. “This another example of drug cartels being creative in how they produce and sell their product.”
In addition to the fentanyl pills, officers recovered significant quantities of crystal methamphetamine, cocaine, and powdered fentanyl. The investigation is ongoing, and criminal charges will be announced in the future.
The candy-colored pills seized in Morgantown are consistent with a trend being seen in other parts of the country. Last week in in Nogales, Arizona, U.S. Custom and Border Patrol agents seized 15,000 multi-colored pills from an individual attempting to smuggle them into the country. Similar seizures have been made in California, Oregon and Washington, D.C.
“We will relentlessly pursue drug dealers who are targeting our youth with drugs disguised as candy,” said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Mike Nordwall. “These pills may look harmless, but they are potentially deadly. We ask the community to talk with your children about the dangers of illegal drugs and to not take something if they aren’t sure what it is or where it came from.”
The Mon Metro Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative, is comprised of representatives from the Morgantown Police Department, the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Office, the Monongalia County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, West Virginia State Police, West Virginia University Police Department, Granville Police Department, and the Star City Police Department.