Suspected Kingpin Accused Of Trafficking Enough Fentanyl "To Kill 10 Million People"

By Paul Fuhr 03/30/18

Officials believe the suspected drug kingpin's arrest will help authorities trace how the Sinaloa cartel moves drugs into the US.

Man in handcuffs

NYC authorities announced that a Mexico-based suspected drug kingpin and five others were indicted for trafficking huge amounts of fentanyl into the States.

According to The Washington Post, the arrest of Francisco Quiroz-Zamora is a huge win in light of the nation’s opioid epidemic. Quiroz-Zamora allegedly arranged to have 44 pounds (20 kilograms) of fentanyl sent to New York.

The haul of fentanyl—which is said to be up to 50 times more potent than heroin—“had the potential to kill 10 million people,” the Post added.

The Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor charged the 41-year-old kingpin and five co-defendants from NYC with “operating as a major trafficker, first-degree sale of a controlled substance and second-degree conspiracy.”

Officials believe the arrest will help authorities trace how drugs are moved by the Sinaloa cartel from Mexico into the United States.

In recent years, Mexican drug traffickers have been using New York as a hub for their fentanyl operations. Last August, a middle-aged couple was arrested with 141 pounds of pure fentanyl—the largest seizure of the drug in U.S. history.

In 2017, narcotics agents seized nearly 500 pounds of pure fentanyl in NYC, which is over 10 times the amount seized in 2016.

“The cartels realize that fentanyl is much more profitable than heroin,” said the head of the DEA’s NY division, James Hunt. Fentanyl is made cheaply and is “often cut into heroin or pressed into counterfeit pills made to resemble legitimate prescription drugs, including OxyContin and Xanax.”

Authorities argue that Quiroz-Zamora (also nicknamed “Gordo”) was involved in “every aspect of the process” straight from the drug’s creators to its users. They also claim he coordinated a complex pipeline that sent drugs from Mexico to Arizona and California via vehicles and special couriers. He also allegedly oversaw and approved transactions between dealers and their customers.

According to the Post, Quiroz-Zamora allegedly negotiated a price between $45,000 and $50,000 per kilogram of fentanyl.

An undercover officer posed as a narcotics trafficker in 2017 and helped authorities apprehend Quiroz-Zamora when he traveled to NYC to reportedly collect his payment. 

City officials applauded the arrest, calling it a huge win against the scourge of opioid addiction.

“Fentanyl has been ravaging my county of the Bronx, killing people and shattering communities,” Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said. “Tracing the source to its foreign origins and indicting the kingpin will help stem the flow of this high-profit poison to our city.” 

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Paul Fuhr lives in Columbus, Ohio with his family and two cats, Vesper and Dr. No. He's written for AfterParty MagazineThe Literary Review and The Live Oak Review, among others. He's also the host of "Drop the Needle," a podcast about music and addiction recovery. More at You can also find Paul on Linkedin and Twitter.