Montana DEA Says Fentanyl is Killing People Faster Than Meth
KGVO spoke to DEA Montana Resident Agent in Charge Stacy Zinn-Brittain on Wednesday’s Talk Back show to get a first hand look at the exploding drug problem in Montana.
Zinn-Brittain said drug users can choose either a slow but sure death from methamphetamine or a quick death from a Fentanyl overdose.
“Meth is king here in Montana and people ask me what is the worst drug and a lot of times I'll say, well, meth is,” said Zinn-Brittain. “Meth can kill you in the long run, however we have now fentanyl. Fentanyl slash heroin pills are coming into their area, and what I tell the community is that meth can kill you in the long run, but these fentanyl products can kill you within 24 hours or even after the first use.”
Zinn-Brittain said fentanyl is so dangerous because it is extremely portable and can be delivered in many ways.
“They can send it directly to our consumers here in Montana via the postal system or mainly they'll send it to the Mexican cartel down the southwest border,” she said. “The Mexican cartels normally will dilute the product to a certain degree, and then send it over our southwest borders and that's when we see it come through Denver, come into Salt Lake City, come up to Washington and then on across to Montana.”
Zinn-Brittain said the DEA and all area law enforcement agencies are working hard to stop the incoming flow of drugs into western Montana.
“On the western side of Montana, individuals can just hop over to that state (Washington), pick up their drugs for a very cheap price and then come back to your community and then resell them and then sell them for a higher profit. We're seeing that take place over and over. It's unfortunate but law enforcement is doing their best. And not just the feds with DEA and other drug units but also the locals, the states, the sheriffs and the DCI, we're all putting our heads together in order to combat this new wave of violent drugs coming through our area.”
Zinn-Brittain said meth and fentanyl traffickers can use a plethora of transportation options to get the drugs to Montana.
“Meth,” she said. “If a individual can’t backpack it on their back or if they want to send a large supply, they'll liquefy the meth, meaning that they will actually put that liquid meth into a tractor trailer, or a gas tanker. It comes right across our ports of entry and if the border patrol or inspector doesn't have a long dipstick that can go to the bottom of that tank and draw out that sample, then we can miss a whole tractor trailer full of dope coming across the ports of entry.”
Zinn-Brittain was careful to emphasize that Montana wouldn’t be suffering through such a drug epidemic if the demand from Montanans wasn’t drawing dealers into the state.
“I think that we need to curb our appetite for drugs and we need to really recognize the dangers of these drugs and that includes marijuana,” he said. “Most people don't understand the THC levels in marijuana and in the mental health issues that are attached to it. We just need to have a ‘come to Jesus’ moment about these types of drugs that are in our community.”
Click this link to access the Montana Drug Enforcement Administration office in Helena. To report a tip directly to a DEA representative, call (571) 324-6499. DEA also offers an online reporting tool for pharmaceutical activities on the DEA Diversion Control Division's website.