A New Jersey woman was arrested after authorities in New York discovered 15,000 pills of "rainbow fentanyl" stuffed inside a Lego box.
New York state drug authorities were investigating suspected drug trafficking Sept. 28 when they observed 48-year-old Latesha Bush of Trenton, New Jersey, carrying a black tote bag wrapped around a large object as she entered a vehicle in Manhattan, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said Tuesday.
Officials said officers stopped the vehicle and found Bush with two black tote bags and a Lego container in the back seat. Inside the container were brick-shaped packages covered in black type next to Lego blocks. Authorities said one of the packages was partially opened, revealing the rainbow-colored pills.
Preliminary testing indicated the pills contained fentanyl. Further investigation revealed Bush had traveled from New Jersey in a rental car, and the pills allegedly came from Mexico, authorities said. The pills were imprinted with a "M" and "30" to resemble Oxycodone pills.
What is 'rainbow fentanyl?' Reports of 'deadly' colorful pills and powder raise concerns
Officials said it was the largest fentanyl bust in New York City to date. Bush was arrested and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first and third degrees, both of which are felonies.
"Rainbow fentanyl is a clear and present danger, and it is here in New York City," DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank Tarentino said in a statement.
"Rainbow fentanyl" has become an increasing concern among law enforcement agencies throughout the country, who say the colorful, candy-looking synthetic opioid – which is much stronger than morphine – is targeting young people. Busts have been reported in Arizona, Oregon, California and Washington, D.C.
But some health experts and toxicologists are viewing the rise of rainbow-colored fentanyl with caution, noting illicit drugs have featured bright colors for decades.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Rainbow fentanyl' pills found in Lego box in New York City