DEA says drug dealers turning to emojis to traffick drugs

The Drug Enforcement Administration is warning people about emojis.

DEA representatives said that emojis are being used as dealer adverting for high potency drugs and universal symbols for drugs and large batches. Emojis can also be used to indicate exactly what drug is being advertised or asked for. Without having to use works, it makes for easier deniability for those involved.

They said sales of counterfeit pills are skyrocketing with the help of the online requests using emojis.

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Investigators with the DEA said the people behind the counterfeit pill operation are using phones and the US mail in an operation that can be dangerous and deadly.

In a recent raid in Cleveland, agents and investigators found loose drugs, counterfeit pills and some of the lenders used to make materials pressed into counterfeit pills.

“They are being marketed as an OXY 30 or an Adrenal, but they’re just mixed up in a clandestine lab or even someone’s basement,” Brian McNeal, of the DEA, said.

The problem with the counterfeit pills is no one knows the potency of a pill or exactly what is in it.

“You cannot tell the difference between a legit pill and fake pill,” McNeal said.

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DEA representatives said the big thing with most counterfeit pills is that they do not have prescribed medication or illegal drugs only; they often have fentanyl added in, which can lead to dangerous and fatal overdoses.

McNeal told News Center 7′s Mike Campbell that the United States was trending for 100,000 overdose deaths year, which he said was the equivalent of a plane full of people dying each day.

McNeal said the advertising is slick and online with the use of emojis, but the delivery methods can often use the same routes and roads for other drug waves in the last few decades.

“We see seizures all up and down I-75. It is no coincidence the Detroit division has offices mainly on the I-75 corridor,” McNeal said.

With Interstates like I-70 and I-75 coming through Dayton, the DEA said this area will continue to be a target for those behind this illegal pill and prescription drug operation.

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