Monroe County deputies warn of rainbow fentanyl after bust in New York

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — “This newly packaged poison rainbow fentanyl is the cartel’s attempt to attract new customers and increase their profit margins.” New York Division Special Agent Frank Tarentino said.

That is a stark warning the DEA gave Tuesday about a new type of fentanyl that looks like candy.

The DEA says the drugs are being trafficked into the United States by Mexican drug cartels, and deputies with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office say it’s something everyone in our community should be watching out for. 

“The Mexican cartels, specifically Sinaloa and CJNG and the Chinese criminal groups, are the most significant threat to public health, public safety and are national security risks to the United States,” New York Special Agent Frank Tarentino said. “It is because they are responsible for mass producing fentanyl and fake fentanyl pills that are flooding into the United States and ending up on our city streets.”

15,000 candy-colored fentanyl pills were seized in Manhattan and marketed like candy concealed in a Lego box. 

“Coming across these little, you know, these pills that are stamped M30, they’re oxy,” Tarentino said. “Obviously, it’s a pill press. It’s just another way that the dealers are trying to move this product through and pass it to make it look like either. Obviously, candy is the idea behind it. But it’s just I mean, these are testing pure fentanyl.”

These pills are known on the market as rainbow fentanyl. Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Mike Favata says they look like regular pills and the heroin task force has come across them a few times in Monroe County. 

“When it comes to, you know, these rainbow pills that we’re talking about, like I said, we’ve had chatter about them for a few years,” Favata said. “But within the last year, we’ve actually seen them here in Rochester, in Monroe County.”

Favata says it’s a highly addictive synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin. And with Halloween around the corner, he offers a warning to families to be on the lookout for anything that looks out of place at home. 

“But in this day and age, you know, I don’t know what these kids are doing,” Favata said. “If your kid has pills for a child who has chosen, they’re in their room or their bag and they’re not on medication, you ask some questions. You know, it’s the start of this type of addiction.”

This year to date there have been 459 overdoses that law enforcement has responded to, 97 of them fatal. 

Favata says if you do happen to come across these pills to make sure to contact them right away so you can get help.