Feds announce major seizure of fentanyl, guns off streets of Spokane

SPOKANE, Wash – On the same day law enforcement agents and federal prosecutors were attending a summit in Spokane about how to curb the rise in fentanyl overdoses in the community, law enforcement officers were seizing a huge amount of drugs as part of an ongoing drug trafficking investigation.

U.S. Attorney Vanessa Waldref announced the seizure in a news release Friday afternoon.

The task force, made up of law enforcement from the DEA, Spokane Police and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, seized 35 pounds of meth and about 50,000 fake pills believed to contain fentanyl.

“One fentanyl-laced pill can kill, so this seizure likely saved dozens, if not hundreds, of lives in the Spokane area,” Waldref said. “When it comes to investigating cases like this, it is truly a force multiplier to have DEA, FBI, Spokane PD and our task forces working together to seize poison pills, protect the community and keep Eastern Washington safe and strong.”

Agents seized seven guns, as well.

One person was arrested for obstruction of justice, as Waldref emphasized the ongoing nature of the overall trafficking investigation.

Waldref was one of more than 100 people who attended a fentanyl summit in Spokane. Community leaders in healthcare, rehabilitation, law enforcement, education and other industries are trying to find solutions to the ongoing problem, which has led to a rise in overdose deaths in Spokane.

RELATED COVERAGE: New alliance focuses on fighting fentanyl issues in Spokane.

The DEA has designated Spokane as one of 11 communities in crisis over this issue.

Health records in Spokane show a 186% increase in fentanyl-related deaths between 2020 and 2021.