L.A. feds seize enough fentanyl doses to kill everyone in 7 California counties

Closeup of small blue pills in Whoppers boxes
Suspected fentanyl pills were seized inside boxes of candy at Los Angeles International Airport in October.
(Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department)

Federal drug agents in Los Angeles have seized 38 million deadly doses of fentanyl this year — enough to kill every resident in L.A., Orange, Ventura, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, officials estimated.

Agents with the Drug Enforcement Agency field office have confiscated 7 million fentanyl pills and more than 1,000 pounds of fentanyl powder in 2022 — accounting for 10% of the drug seized across the country, according to the agency.

“As people prepare to celebrate the holidays and gather with friends and family, let us be mindful of the fentanyl threat that is destroying families across the nation and leaving empty seats at the dinner table this year,” said DEA Los Angeles Special Agent in Charge Bill Bodner. “Los Angeles is a major transshipment hub for fentanyl and other drugs and we continue to see massive amounts of addictive drugs flooding our neighborhoods. These seizures represent our tenacious efforts to make our communities safer and our ongoing commitment to save lives.”


The amount of fentanyl seized in the Los Angeles area was more than double the amount confiscated in 2021, according to the DEA.

U.S. life expectancy, already declining since the onset of the pandemic, fell further in 2021, according to the CDC’s final accounting of death certificates.

Dec. 22, 2022

Nationwide, the DEA seized about 379 million deadly doses of the powerful opioid.

Federal officials say that most of the fentanyl is being produced in secret Mexican factories with chemicals from China.

Over the last year, the number of counterfeit prescription pills laced with fentanyl has skyrocketed, leading the DEA to issue a public safety alert about the new threat.

The counterfeit pills are also becoming even more deadly, according to officials.

Fentanyl deaths among teens more than doubled from 2019 to 2020, increasing from 253 to 680. Last year, the number jumped to 884, according to a report from the Journal of the American Medical Assn.

Nov. 12, 2022


Six out of every 10 counterfeit pills now contain a lethal dose of fentanyl, the DEA announced in November, an increase from four out of 10 in 2021.

Fentanyl overdose deaths have risen sharply in Los Angeles County each year since 2016, according to data from the Public Health Department.

Whereas 109 people died of fentanyl overdoses in 2016, more than 1,500 died from an overdose of the drug last year, according to county statistics.