• Counterfeit pills more prevalent than ever in metro Atlanta, GBI agents say

    By: Mark Winne


    DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - An undercover agent with the GBI said counterfeit pills are putting lives at risk. 

    The agent said he's been undercover for years and counterfeit pills are more prevalent than ever in metro Atlanta. 

    "They're marked as oxycodone, but they actually contain fentanyl and they contain heroin," he said. 

    The undercover agent said he puts his life at risk everyday dealing with these drugs. 

    "There is a risk and there is danger, but if you're out there, you're doing this, you're doing it for a purpose," he said. "I can make a difference doing this, you know, more than anything else."


    GBI West Metro Commander Joe Chestnut said in recent months, metro Atlanta has been awash in counterfeit pills. He said they often contain potentially deadly ingredients that his investigators encounter on undercover buys on a weekly basis. 

    "Based on intelligence we've received from other confidential informants and other law enforcement agencies, counterfeit pills is fairly prevalent in the metropolitan Atlanta area," Chestnut said. 

    Chemists at the GBI crime lab said they get counterfeit pills in the lab daily.

    Chemist Deneen Kilcrease said one batch of pills purchased undercover recently tested positive for carfentanil, which is 100 times more potent than fentanyl, which is itself much stronger than heroin, and drives up the risk for a fatal overdose. 

    "You are playing Russian roulette with your life when you take an illicit pill that is not from a pharmacy and prescribed to you by your doctor," Kilcrease said. 

    Chestnut said fentanyl is so prevalent and dangerous, the GBI has switched how it field tests drugs to avoid unnecessary contact.

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