APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – Authorities in the Fox Valley arrested several individuals that were tied to a drug trafficking organization that allegedly distributed around one million fentanyl pills through northeast Wisconsin.

According to a release, during the week of May 1, investigators and agents from the Lake Winnebago Area Metropolitan Enforcement Group – Drug Unit (LWAM) arrested multiple members of the organization. The one million fentanyl pills own a street value of around $5M.

“Fentanyl poses a major danger to our communities,” said Attorney General Josh Kaul. “Thank you to the investigators whose diligent work is helping to protect public safety in the Fox Valley.”

These arrests, which were largely a result of thorough and diligent follow-up related to the December 2022 seizure of approximately 54 thousand fentanyl pills, mark a significant disruption in the flow of highly lethal fentanyl pills to the area and demonstrate law enforcement’s commitment to thwarting the deadly threat of fentanyl in our communities. 

“I want to thank the members of our community who provided tips and information that helped us in this operation, and I want to assure them that we will continue to work tirelessly to keep our streets safe and free from the dangers of illicit drugs,” said Appleton Police Chief Polly Olson. “I also want to recognize the hard work and dedication of our officers and investigators who worked tirelessly to bring this operation to a successful conclusion. Their commitment to public safety and their willingness to put themselves in harm’s way to protect our community is a testament to their professionalism and dedication.”

As a synthetic opioid originally intended for pain management, fentanyl can come in many forms, including powder or counterfeit pill forms in varying shapes, sizes, and colors.

Fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.  According to the DEA, fentanyl can be deadly in quantities as little as 2mg, which is only the size of a few grains of sand, and approximately 60% of seized fentanyl pills contain a potentially lethal dose.

“Fentanyl is clearly the number one drug threat to communities throughout the Fox Valley area,” said LWAM Special Agent in Charge Jeremiah Winscher. “Alongside our local, state, and federal partners, LWAM will continue to work diligently investigating and holding accountable those who chose to distribute this poison in our communities and cause harm to the citizens and families that live and work here.”

No additional details were provided, and Local 5 News will update this if any more information is released regarding LWAM’s progress against fentanyl.