NEW YORK - Federal authorities say they have arrested a New Jersey woman who was concealing colorful fentanyl pills in a LEGO box in order to hide them for distribution.
The DEA calls it a "significant seizure" and the largest fentanyl pill bust ever in New York City. They say the approximately 15,000 fentanyl pills were imprinted with "M" and "30" to resemble "30 M", Oxycodone Hydrochloride 30 mg pills.
Latesha Bush, 48, of Trenton faces criminal possession of controlled substance charges.
The feds say that the Sinaloa Cartel and Jalisco New Generation Cartel are mass-producing fentanyl pills in rainbow colors to not only brand their products, but use colors and dyes to mimic candy and/or legitimate prescription drugs.
"Rainbow fentanyl is a clear and present danger and it is here in New York City," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank Tarentino. "Approximately forty percent of the pills we analyze in our lab contain a lethal dose."
Bush was arrested last Wednesday in Manhattan. The DEA’s New York Drug Enforcement Task Force was conducting surveillance and they allegedly saw Bush get into a car on 10th Ave.
A woman was arrested allegedly with approximately 15,000 fentanyl pills concealed in a LEGO box. (DEA photo)
When agents stopped the vehicle they say Bush was in the back seat with two black tote bags and a yellow LEGO container. Inside the LEGO container were several brick-shaped packages covered in black tape lying next to LEGO blocks. The black tape covering one of the packages had been partially opened, exposing multi-colored pills inside. A subsequent examination of the packages revealed they contained approximately 15,000 brightly colored pills.
NYC Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan said, "Using happy colors to make a deadly drug seem fun and harmless is a new low, even for the Mexican cartels."
DEA laboratory analysis of the drugs is pending, according to authorities. They say preliminary testing indicated the presence of fentanyl.
The DEA says it seized of more than 10.2 million fentanyl pills and approximately 980 pounds of fentanyl powder nationally this summer.