/ Modified aug 23, 2019 10:02 a.m.

Agent: Arizona's spike in seized fentanyl pills 'alarming'

More than 1 million pills have been seized in the state this year.

Fentanyl bust 2019 VIEW LARGER DEA photo of a reported 90,000 fentanyl pills, published Aug. 22, 2019.

PHOENIX — The Arizona Drug Enforcement Administration says more than 1.1 million fentanyl pills have been seized in the state this fiscal year.

Fentanyl pills 2019 VIEW LARGER A bag of fentanyl pills seized by DEA agents via Arizona investigations, published Aug. 22, 2019.

DEA Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman says most pills seized so far in the year ending Sept. 30 were made to mimic oxycodone M-30 tablets.

He says agencies in Arizona seized about 380,000 pills in the previous 12-month period.

Coleman says the pills known as "Mexican oxy" are largely manufactured south of the border and smuggled into the United States by drug cartels. He says the growing number of pills that law enforcement is encountering is "alarming."

The DEA noted the new fentanyl product as a trend in 2016, when 20,000 pills were seized. Fentanyl previously was used mostly as a powder added to heroin.

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