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STATE WIDE--You’ve heard about drug busts in Evansville, Indianapolis, South Bend and other cities in Indiana. Some of those busts were part of an effort by the DEA and federal authorities to try and slow down one of the deadliest drug overdose trends ever.

While the opioid crisis has plagued Indiana for years, year after year record numbers of deaths are happening, including last year’s record of 2,755 people across the state. Records show 85 percent of those were from fentanyl. It’s an opioid and it’s 50 times more powerful than morphine. And, the people who trade in it are aggressive and clever.

“From May through September of this year DEA agents conducted 389 investigations, including 35 cartel-linked investigations in 201 cities,” said U.S. Atty. Gen. Merrick Garland, in a press conference this week. Some of those cities were Hoosier cities.

In Evansville, for example, in July, several people were busted for making counterfeit oxycodone pills, which actually contained fentanyl. The doses were more than enough to be lethal. DEA agents said the manufacturers were using the dark web to conduct business.

“Over the course of these investigations we seized over 10 million fake pills and 982 pounds of fentanyl powder across all 50 states,” said Garland.

Fake pills are one of many problems the DEA is attempting to address. “Rainbow fentanyl” looks like candy.

“Families should have open and honest conversations about the deadly consequences of fentanyl,” said Garland. “Make sure your loved ones know that they should not take anything they are not prescribed, they should not take a pill from a friend and they should not take a pill they can buy on social media.”

Garland said across the country the DEA and federal authorities found 338 shotguns, pistols and even hand grenades when busting dealers.

Many of the investigations lead back to drug cartels, which Garland said agents are trying hard to bust, or at least break up their activity in the states.

Another bust involved a man who traveled to California to ship cartel-linked drugs back to Bloomington and Bloomfield.

Garland said the consequences of the fentanyl trade often hit young people hard, with their naivete leading them to take that one pill that can kill.