A Rhode Island man will plead guilty in what is being called the largest seizure of methamphetamine-laced Adderall pills in the U.S., authorities said Monday.
The landmark arrest comes as federal authorities continue to warn of an “alarming increase” in the death rate and availability of counterfeit prescription pills laced with fentanyl and methamphetamine in the US. Counterfeit pills that look like prescription opioids (like Xanax or Adderall) but contain potentially fatal doses of fentanyl or meth are being found in every state, according to the US Drug Enforcement Administration.
Dylan Rodas, 27, was arrested in March after investigators found 660,500 methamphetamine-laced pills (weighing a total of about 660 pounds) in his basement, court documents say.
“The amount of methamphetamine that this seizure represents – methamphetamine that was packaged and ready to pour into the streets, with devastating effects on our communities – is staggering,” U.S. Attorney for the District of Rhode Island Zachary Cunha said at a news conference Monday. .
Rodas pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine in connection with the kidnapping, Cunha announced.
In addition to being the largest seizure of counterfeit Adderall pills in the U.S., the bust is among the largest meth seizures by the DEA’s New England Field Division, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The discovery was made after a source working with the DEA identified Rhodes as a supplier of meth-laced pills in the area, according to court documents.
The confidential source bought pills from the defendant while DEA agents were listening, documents say.
Agents served search warrants at Rodas’ Cumberland home, where they found a basement workshop used to manufacture counterfeit pills, a pill press machine, thousands of pills and an assortment of other drugs and firearms, the U.S. Attorney said.
The charge — intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine — carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, Cunha said in a statement Monday. If Rodas pleads guilty, he will serve at least 10 years in federal prison, the state’s attorney said.
CNN has reached out to Rodas’ attorney for comment.
Counterfeit pills, which are marketed as legitimate prescription pills, are easy to buy and widely available in the US, according to the DEA. According to the agency, in 2021, 20.4 counterfeit pills were seized nationwide.
DEA lab tests have found that four out of 10 pills containing fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose, and the agency and local law enforcement agencies have seized deadly fake pills at record rates, the DEA said.
In the past year, 100,000 Americans died of a drug overdose, Cunha said. Of those deaths, 64 percent were from opioids and 28 percent were from psychostimulants, mainly meth, he said.
“For too long, here in New England we’ve been spared the full impact of methamphetamine, a drug that has ruined life in so many communities across the country,” Cunha said. “Those days, I regret, are over, with methamphetamine’s growing presence in Rhode Island and the Northeast.”