Mexican drug cartels have been utilizing social media platforms such as Facebook, TikTok, and Snapchat to sell huge quantities of fentanyl and fake prescription pills in the U.S., which have been linked to numerous overdose deaths.

In a press conference on Thursday, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) administrator Anne Milgram said that Mexican criminal drug networks are using the perfect drug trafficking tool, the social media applications available on every smartphone.

Milgram noted that Mexican drug cartels use the platforms "to flood" the U.S. with fentanyl," Daily Mail reported. The DEA administrator added that the easiness of using social media and other smartphone apps is driving the country's "unprecedented overdose pandemic."

Mexican Drug Cartels' Social Media Strategy Reaches All Age Groups

According to Milgram, fake prescription pills with dangerous levels of fentanyl are pouring out of production facilities in Mexico run by Mexican drug cartels using chemicals from China. These pills were then smuggled and distributed throughout the U.S.

Milgram noted that the DEA has confiscated more than 15,000 pounds of fentanyl powder this year alone, which is enough to "kill every American."

The DEA administrator noted that the strategy of using social media platforms reaches all age groups, like a curious teen ordering a pill online or an elderly searching online for a painkiller.

Milgram then passed the blame to social media companies, saying they were not doing nearly enough to block the ads for fake pills, NBC News reported.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Monday that his government would release a report on the fight against synthetic drugs like fentanyl.

The Mexican president also decried a DEA report that he claimed proposes using U.S. assets to apprehend people involved in the illegal drug trade in Mexico.

He said no foreign authority would be allowed to make any arrests in Mexican territory. Lopez Obrador noted that foreign agents had earlier been involved in the country's law enforcement operations, violating Mexican sovereignty.

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Drug Trafficking and Fentanyl Overdoses

Joseph Palamar, an associate professor and drug epidemiologist at New York University Langone Health, said the supply of these fake pills is going up significantly since they are easy to transport and difficult to track.

According to The Wall Street Journal, federal authorities have seized more than 20 million fake pills this year, with a huge majority containing fentanyl. 

In the DEA's September 29 to December 14 investigation, over eight million fake pills have been confiscated, and 776 people were arrested. Authorities also seized and 288 weapons.

The DEA noted that 76 cases that were probed were connected to drug smugglers who set up anonymous accounts on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube to sell pills laced with fentanyl. The agency said at least 32 of these cases were tied to Mexican drug cartels.

DEA agents reported 28 cases with drug trafficking activities in Facebook Messenger, 34 via Snapchat, and 14 on Instagram. DEA investigators also registered 10 cases of drug network activities on Facebook and two each on YouTube and TikTok.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control said more than 100,000 drug overdose deaths were reported over the last year. The agencies noted that around 64 percent of the deaths were linked to synthetic opioids, including fentanyl.

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This article is owned by Latin Post.

Written by: Mary Webber

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