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Phoenix DEA Chief On How Deadly Drug Fentanyl Is Getting Across The Arizona Border

Doug Coleman
Jackie Hai/KJZZ
DEA Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman.

A group of government and border security officials is holding a discussion about the opioid epidemic and the flow of illegal opioids that cross the Arizona border with Mexico. They’re talking about the challenges the state faces in tracking and seizing these substances, especially the deadly synthetic opioid known as fentanyl.

Fentanyl is 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin and, recently, law enforcement agencies have said it’s showing up across Arizona.

It’s also a substance that’s very valuable to drug traffickers, who can transform just a kilogram of fentanyl powder into hundreds of thousands of pills and then sell those pills for millions of dollars, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

So how is it getting here? For the answer, The Show talked with Doug Coleman, special agent in charge with the DEA’s Phoenix Field Division.

Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.