WESLACO, Texas (ValleyCentral) – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) held their weekly press conference on Thursday with a focus on the effects and smuggling of the drug fentanyl.

The briefing was led by DPS South Texas Region Media Lt. Christopher Olivarez and TMD Major Michael Perry.

Olivarez spoke on the increased amount of fentanyl seized over the past year.

In 2019 and 2020, there was a combined 233 pounds of fentanyl seized. In 2021, a total of 1,300 pounds of fentanyl was seized, according to Olivarez.

DPS Seized Drug System Trainer Jennifer Hatch joined this week’s conference as a guest speaker, discussing the dangers and potency of fentanyl.

“Fentanyl is 30 times more potent than heroin, and 60 to 100 times more potent than morphine,” said Hatch.

According to Hatch, two milligrams of fentanyl is widely accepted as a lethal dose.

Hatch also spoke about Carfentanil, a more potent synthetic opioid that she said DPS is also seeing.

“[Carfentanil] is 600 to 10,000 times more potent than morphine. There’s a legitimate purpose to carfentanil, it’s used in animals. It’s an elephant tranquilizer,” she said.

According to Hatch, fentanyl is being added to a wide range of other narcotics.

“It can be sold as heroin, and a lot of what we see is apparent diverted prescription medication. These oxycodone-looking tablets, it could also be pressed in Xanax-looking tablets, or hydrocodone. Most recently it’s been seen in ecstasy tablets,” said Hatch.

Olivarez said the primary focus of Operation Lone Star has been to crack down on organizations that are making or distributing these drugs, adding that DPS has seized over 200 million lethal doses worth of fentanyl this year.

This was the ninth briefing held by the departments.