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Candy-colored fentanyl concerns St. Lucie County sheriff

Florida Attorney General issues warning of new deadly drugs
Fentanyl that looks like candy seized at Mexico border
Posted at 5:07 PM, Aug 22, 2022

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — As students head to college for the fall semester, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody on Monday warnedabout a deadly drug flooding the black market.

Fentanyl is now being found in what looks like bright, rainbow-colored candy that could be enticing to younger people.

Deputies in St. Lucie County are now starting to watch for it showing up in our area.

Sheriff Ken Mascara said the drug looks similar to sweet tarts, and that this is a perfect example of how drug dealers are looking for new ways to compete for new clients.

Fentanyl is already becoming so prevalent that Mascara said it's only a matter of time before the candy-looking drugs show up on the Treasure Coast.

Sheriff Ken Mascara speaks about fentanyl concerns, Aug. 22, 2022
Sheriff Ken Mascara speaks about how they are targeting fentanyl dealers in St. Lucie County.

Mascara said deputies are almost always finding fentanyl in drug busts.

"We are finding more and more fentanyl with every drug bust we do," Mascara said.

Recently over the weekend -- following a three-month investigation with the FBI, DEA and other local law enforcement agencies -- drugs and weapons were seized and one suspect was charged with trafficking fentanyl.

"If you're dealing fentanyl, we've got you on our radar, and we're coming after you," Mascara said. "What they are doing is dealing death to our community."

It's becoming so common that deputies have even changed how they respond to drug calls and investigations.

"We prepare for every drug bust to have fentanyl," Mascara said.

That includes wearing special personal protective equipment like gloves that fentanyl can't seep through along with masks and protective clothing. K9s are also kept away from scenes where fentanyl could harm them.

"Never have we faced a drug like fentanyl," Mascara said. "I mean just a sniff renders some people unconscious, kills other people."

Mascara himself has felt what fentanyl in a powder form can do — just being near it — during a previous drug investigation.

"When I walked in, I immediately got dizzy, then a terrible headache, and then they took me outside and called rescue for me," Mascara said.

The sheriff said drug dealers only continue to push fentanyl in our area as more of it comes across the border and competition becomes tighter.

Moody said between Aug. 16-17, 265,000 colorful pills were seized coming across the border.

Florida's attorney general also said fentanyl is now the leading cause of death for people 18 to 45 years old.