Pasadena Police Find ‘Rainbow Fentanyl' Among 300,000 Pills Hidden in Truck Tire

The chances of rainbow fentanyl showing up in your kids candy bag are extremely low, but police say it's a good idea to make sure candy is in sealed packages.

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The Pasadena Police Department seized more than 300,000 fentanyl pills in September, and among them so-called “rainbow fentanyl."

It is the first time they have found large quantities of multi-colored pills that look like candy, according to investigators with the Pasadena Police Major Narcotics and Special Investigation Unit. 

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent and deadly than heroin, according to the Centers for Disease Control. 

Pasadena police say dozens of packages, containing around 10,000 pills each, were found hidden inside the tire of a truck. Police say drug dealers in Mexico and China are creating colorful pills in order to avoid detection by law enforcement.  

It is a trend being seen nationwide.  


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In New York City, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration New York Division announced the discovery of rainbow fentanyl packaged inside a Legos toy box.  

Two men face federal charges in Maryland for fentanyl drug trafficking after police found thousands of pills packaged in Nerd candy boxes and Skittles candy bags, according to federal prosecutors.  

The amount of fentanyl pills being seized by law enforcement is skyrocketing.  

Pasadena police Lieutenant Marcia Taglioretti says from 2021 “it started out maybe about 100,000 pills of fentanyl that were seized but 2022 that increased about 600,000, it was approximately 700,000 pills” seized by their department. 

The NBC4 I-Team reviewed data from the Los Angeles Coroner’s officer and found fentanyl-related deaths increased more than 1,700 percent from 2016 through 2021.

With Halloween just around the corner, police say the danger is that a kid could pick up one of these colored pills thinking its candy and without knowing what is inside could become sick or even die.  

While the chances of rainbow fentanyl showing up in your kids candy bag are extremely low, Lieutenant Taglioretti says to make sure candy is in sealed packages and if anything looks suspicious it is better to be safe than sorry, throw out the candy or call the police if you are concerned.  

See more information from the FDA here and DEA here.

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