NOGALES (CBS 5) -- It took less than 30 seconds to find a man in Nogales, Sonora in Mexico willing to sell the type of deadly counterfeit Percocet pills that are causing a spike in overdoses among teenagers in particular here in the Valley.

CBS 5 Investigates sent a team to the border to find out how readily available the pills are on the street. Law enforcement says the pills confiscated here in the Valley during recent busts and overdoses came from Mexico.

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"How can we help you?" said the man, as chief investigative reporter Morgan Loew walked out into the street.

"I'm looking for M30s," said Loew, referring to the street name for the pills.

"I'm going to introduce you to my guy," said the man.

Less than 30 seconds later, hidden camera video shows they were at a storefront, negotiating the cost of the pills.

Loew walked away from the deal without making the purchase.

"Fentanyl is the drug du jour," said Dr. Frank LoVecchio from Banner Poison and Drug Information Center.

LoVecchio says he's seen a dramatic increase in overdoses due to fentanyl in the past three years.

"Now we see it every single day," said LoVecchio.

"People like to pass it off as Percocet," said Parker McKinsey, a recovering addict himself, who lost his younger brother to a fentanyl overdose last year.

"You're not going to find it without fentanyl in it if you're buying it from somebody on the street," said McKinsey.

[TIMELINE: Emergence of the opioid crisis]

Last month, a student at Notre Dame Preparatory in Scottsdale was arrested after he allegedly supplied pills laced with fentanyl to other students.

Teenagers in San Luis, Tucson, Phoenix and Prescott Valley have died from fentanyl overdoses in the past year. Health experts say there are likely more, but it is difficult to keep track of the number because official statistics are a year behind.

[RELATED: Americans more likely to die by opioid overdose than in a car crash]

Quick use of the anti-overdose medication, NARCAN, has saved dozens of lives.

"Some patients have been able to describe it was an M30 pill that they bought," said Kim Schmid, who works at Banner Poison and Drug Information Center.

According to federal and local law enforcement officials, the raw fentanyl is made in China and shipped to Mexico. They say the Sinaloa Drug Cartel turns the pure form of the drug into pills, that are stamped to resemble Percocet, with an "M" on one side and a "30" on the other.

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From Sinaloa, the drugs are shipped north to the border, where they are either sold on the street or transported on people or in vehicles through the ports of entry into the United States. From the border area, they are shipped to cities like Phoenix.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Fentanyl's Fatal Fallout]

CBS 5 Investigates confronted one of the drug sellers in Nogales.

When asked why he's selling a drug that is known to kill teenagers, the man shrugged his head and said he did not know.

Morgan Loew's hard-hitting investigations can be seen weekdays on CBS 5 News at 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
 
 


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

CBS 5 Investigative Reporter

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(9) comments

Wayne kenoff

Why are they making it seem like the drug only targets teenagers? Fentanyl has no prejudices; it kills whoever.

MyOwnMind

This is fantastic news. We need a go fund me to send off the useless drug users to Mexico. Drug problem solved.

Webo

CBS and AZFamily, the same media outlets broadcasting the lies of the left saying there isn't a problem. That drones and other "high tech monitoring" will solve the non-crisis at the border. Liars, all of them. Build the wall, then let's see what happens. We can always tear it down if it doesn't work.

Thrill22

How about we say we did and don't?

Dean

What? Are you a mexican importer of this stuff that is murdering thousands of people?

Thrill22

You found me out Dean, I'm a mexican importer of this stuff.

Dean

Sure they are. That is why we must build the wall

Thrill22

How will a wall stop this? Right now all you need to do is walk thru the port of entry, where there is a wall, to the other side of the border and buy the pills and walk back across to the US.

Dean

And if you get caught you are arrested. The point is to keep the mass transporters of the poison from bringing it across on their backs.

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