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Minn. authorities warn of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl

ST. PAUL -- Minnesota law enforcement officials have issued a warning about pills containing fentanyl, known as "Mexican Oxy," following an apparent fatal overdose linked to the pills. Beth Leann Roulet, 38, was found dead in a Mankato home Tuesd...

Minnesota Department of Public Safety photoA quarter is used to indicate the size of fentanyl pills that concern state law enforcement officials. A woman died of an overdose related to the pills this week in Mankato.
Minnesota Department of Public Safety photo A dime is used to indicate the size of fentanyl pills that concern state law enforcement officials. A woman died of an overdose related to the pills this week in Mankato.

ST. PAUL - Minnesota law enforcement officials have issued a warning about pills containing fentanyl, known as "Mexican Oxy," following an apparent fatal overdose linked to the pills.

Beth Leann Roulet, 38, was found dead in a Mankato home Tuesday of an apparent opioid overdose. Her death is believed to be the first in Minnesota from these pills, according to a news release from the Department of Public Safety.

Investigators with the Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force discovered small, light-blue colored pills at the scene with the letter "M" on one side and the number 30 on the other.

Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension scientists have confirmed that the pills are marked as legitimately manufactured oxycodone but actually contain fentanyl.

According to investigators, counterfeit pills like these are believed to originate in Mexico and have been linked to fatal overdoses across the country. They look similar to legitimate pills.

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"Counterfeit opioid drugs are designed to look like the real thing," said Drew Evans, BCA superintendent, in a news release. "Your supplier has no idea which dose would kill you, and neither will you. There is no safe dose."

According to the release, law enforcement is targeting mid-level and high-level drug dealers in an effort to prevent further tragedies.

In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: lvanderwerf@wctrib.com or phone 320-214-4340
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