DEA, Riverside police seize 10 million lethal doses of fentanyl from Sinaloa Cartel cell

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The Drug Enforcement Administration announced the seizure of 10 million lethal doses of fentanyl from a Sinaloa Cartel cell on Wednesday. 

The year-long operation with the Riverside Police Department and the United States Postal Inspection Service started in March 2023 and resulted in the arrest of 15 people.

The DEA also confiscated about 376 pounds of methamphetamine, 37.4 pounds of fentanyl, 600,000 fentanyl tablets, about three pounds of cocaine and seven guns during the operation, dubbed “Hotline Bling.”

A photo of the drugs seized during Operation Hotline Bling. | DEA

“We will continue leveraging every available resource to disrupt drug distribution trying to make its way into our Riverside neighborhoods,” stated Riverside Police Chief Larry Gonzalez.

Investigators said three separate federal indictments charged six of the 15 people arrested, one of whom was a Riverside County Correctional Deputy. Authorities said they learned about the investigation and handed over the information to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, according to the DEA.

Law enforcement arrested the “corrupt” deputy with 104 pounds of fentanyl pills, according to the DEA.

“We are committed to keeping dangerous drugs off our streets and are intent on holding all substance laws violators accountable,” Special Agent in Charge Matthew Allen said. 

The agency said fentanyl is the leading cause of death for Americans between 18 and 45 years old. 

“As fentanyl and methamphetamine continue to ravage our communities, we will continue to target drug trafficking organizations that put profit over people’s lives,” United States Attorney Martin Estrada said.

The DEA named three of the men charged during Operation Hotline Bling: 

  • – Edwin Michael Alva, 31
  • – Christopher Antonio Arreola-Alvarado, 25
  • – Jose Javier Raya Cortez, 21

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