Fentanyl was smuggled into Los Angeles from Mexico inside of fireplace extinguishers, based on the U.S. Department of Justice, which charged 17 individuals within the scheme.

Ten of the suspects are in custody within the U.S., whereas the opposite seven are wished in Mexico, a press release from the company stated.

The company alleges {that a} San Diego-based firm, Carin Trucking, operated no less than six semitrucks that repeatedly crossed the border.

These vans carried hearth extinguishers crammed with fentanyl, methamphetamine and heroin, hid by scrap metallic, the DOJ says.

Fentanyl deaths have been on the rise, with the substance changing into Los Angeles County’s deadliest drug in 2023. Fentanyl induced 20% of deadly opioid overdoses nationwide in 2016, however that fee skyrocketed to 92% in 2022.

After crossing the border, the vans concerned within the smuggling scheme would proceed as much as Los Angeles, the place a courier would take the fireplace extinguishers for distribution, the Justice Division alleges.

The federal government’s two-year investigation, referred to as Operation Smoke Jumpers, led to 13 seizures with large yields: “680,992 fentanyl capsules, 3 kilograms of fentanyl powder, 17 kilograms of heroin, and 10,418 capsules containing methamphetamine,” the assertion stated.

On Feb. 8, authorities started making arrests. Six of the 10 suspects had been taken into custody in Los Angeles and the Inland Empire.

One suspect, Toniel Baez-Duarte, was already in custody after being arrested in reference to a drug-fueled massacre of six in El Mirage within the unincorporated space of Adelanto.

“These defendants used a complicated community to smuggle immense quantities of fentanyl into our nation,” U.S. Atty. Martin Estrada stated. “We all know that each fentanyl tablet can kill, however these defendants didn’t care concerning the widespread destruction they had been inflicting.”

Fees in opposition to the 17 people embody two narcotics conspiracies, 12 drug possession offenses and a cash laundering conspiracy. Potential most penalties embody life imprisonment.

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