May 28, 2024

California seizes more than 5.8 million fentanyl pills since January

What you need to know: From January to April 2024, the state’s Counterdrug Task Force has helped law enforcement agencies seize more than 5.8 million pills containing fentanyl across California, including at ports of entry along the southern border.

SACRAMENTO — Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the seizure of an estimated 5.8 million pills containing fentanyl statewide, including at ports of entry along the southern border, since the beginning of the year. In April alone, the state helped seize more than 2.3 million fentanyl pills through the California National Guard’s Counterdrug Task Force, which assists local and federal partners to take deadly fentanyl off the streets.

Illegal fentanyl has no place in our neighborhoods. California is tackling this problem head-on by holding drug traffickers accountable and increasing seizures, while at the same time expanding access to substance abuse treatment options and providing life-saving, affordable reversal medicine to Californians statewide.

Governor Gavin Newsom

A graphic with a blue background and white and orange text that says 5,809,781 fentanyl pills seized. From January to April 2024, the state's Counterdrug Task Force has helped law enforcement agencies seize more than 5.8 million fentanyl pills across California, seizing more than 2.3 million pills in the month of April alone.

Governor Newsom recently launched, a one-stop tool for Californians seeking resources for prevention and treatment, as well as information on how California is working to hold Big Pharma and drug-traffickers accountable in this crisis. The state is now set to purchase life-saving naloxone for approximately half of the current market price — saving more lives with this miracle drug and maximizing taxpayer dollars.

“Our Counterdrug Task Force continues to deliver extraordinary value to our law enforcement partners statewide,” said CalGuard Major General Matthew Beevers. “The volume of seizures we’re enabling and supporting demonstrates our commitment to denying operating capital to drug cartels and making California safer.”

California’s leadership

The Governor’s Master Plan for Tackling the Fentanyl and Opioid Crisis provides a comprehensive framework to address the opioid and fentanyl crisis, including through aggressive steps to support overdose prevention efforts, hold the opioid pharmaceutical industry accountable, crack down on drug trafficking, and raise awareness about the dangers of opioids, including fentanyl. 

Last year, the Governor increased the number of CalGuard service members deployed to interdict drugs at U.S. ports of entry along the border by approximately 50%. The operations CalGuard supported resulted in the record seizure of 62,224 pounds of fentanyl in 2023 — a 1066% increase since 2021. CalGuard’s coordinated drug interdiction efforts in the state are funded in part by California’s $30 million investment to expand CalGuard’s work to prevent drug trafficking by transnational criminal organizations. Fentanyl is primarily smuggled into the country by U.S. citizens.

In support of President Biden’s bilateral cooperation agreement with China on counternarcotics, the Governor spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping in October about combating the transnational shipping of precursor chemicals used to create fentanyl.